Gary Neville has revealed he wanted to give up the Manchester United captaincy but was stopped by manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Neville was appointed United captain in 2005 following the mid-season departure of Roy Keane. The right-back remained club captain until he retired in 2011.
But the Sky Sports pundit says years earlier he felt “unworthy” of the armband and wanted to give it up.
However, Ferguson was insistent on Neville carrying on in the role.
The legendary boss did not want to upset any of his other first-team squad by appointing a new captain, so he told Neville he was carrying on.
“I got injured about a year after taking the captaincy and that became really difficult for me because I felt as though I wasn’t contributing like a captain would do for the last four years of my career,” Neville said on Sky Sports.
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“I actually remember going to see Sir Alex one pre-season, I think it was about the third year I was captain, and it was obvious then, we had an amazing team.
“[Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Wayne] Rooney, [Carlos] Tevez, [Ryan] Giggs, [Paul] Scholes, [Michael] Carrick,[Rio] Ferdinand, [Nemanja] Vidic, [Patrice] Evra, [Edwin] Van der Sar – there were some great personalities and great players in that group.
“I went over to Sir Alex one day, walking over to the training pitch, and said: ‘Boss, I don’t feel worthy of keeping the captaincy anymore, this team’s shifted onto a level that I can’t compete at’.
“And he said: ‘You’ll keep that effing armband son’. Am I allowed to say that on Sky Sports? I think in lockdown you’re allowed to say it.
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“And the reason he gave me, he said: “You and Giggs will rotate it. If I give it to Ronaldo, Rooney will kick off. If I give it to Rooney, Ronaldo will kick off, if I give it to Vidic, Ferdinand won’t be happy’.
“So literally I think me and Giggsy kept the armband for about three or four years, and Giggsy beyond that, just purely because of the camaraderie in the dressing room, keeping things together.
“We were the policemen in the dressing room if you like, we were the older statesmen and we were setting the example.
“Sir Alex wanted to make sure that the team came first, even though I felt unworthy of the captaincy at that stage to be honest with you.”
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