Exclusive lockdown interview with Man Utd great Phil Neville



Danny Webber: Phil, with Salford, how’ve you found the first season in League Two, in league football. Have you enjoyed it?

“It’s been difficult, I’ve got to say. Every step and every jump has been really difficult and harder and more intense. I’d say that when we first signed you, Danny [Webber], they were the enjoyable years when there didn’t seem to be that much expectation and pressure. Now there is, you’re dealing with cut-throat chairmans, leagues, players’ agents, finances, and it’s been a real challenge. But I’ve got to say that every time we go out there, you have to pinch yourself. Look at the new stadium and the facilities that we’ve got, and the manager we’ve got who’s doing a great job as well.”

 

Danny Webber: I watched a clip the other day. You guys used to stand on that little stone [among the crowd], and it’s changed so much.

“And now we’re sat in a prawn sandwich [area] behind the box! To be fair, it’s no different to the feeling that we had at United. Everybody wants to kill us, everybody wants to beat us. You watch one of the [opposition] teams play the week before and they’re bottom of the league. They come and play us and they play like Barcelona – it’s unbelievable! But that’s the measure of the club really. It’s brilliant. It’s probably the best thing that I’ve ever been involved in.”

 

Wes Brown: You were my first team-mate, Phil. Do you remember when you used to go to bed at 7.30pm?

“And you went to bed at half-seven in the morning!”

 

Wes Brown: But that was good discipline! You taught me a lot by doing that, because I used to go to bed really late. You always used to say ‘There’s the remote’ [before going to sleep], but I could never turn it on. You were snoring and I just didn’t want to wake you up!

“Was that in your first season? That was in ’99 wasn’t it? Footballers nowadays, they don’t share rooms together. They all have their own sleep patterns and their way. But it’s funny, with the Lionesses, the first thing I wanted to introduce was single rooms, so they could sleep when we passed through different time zones, and not one single one of them wanted it. They liked the camaraderie. They liked their friendships on the camps. They liked the company within the rooms, and they just would not do that.”



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