Saturday, November 25, 2017

Neville: United simply the best

Retired Manchester United great Gary Neville has paid tribute to his former club as they close in on a record 19th league championship.

When Liverpool took out the 1989-90 First Division title to claim their 18th championship, United – with the Sir Alex Ferguson era just four years old – had won only seven.

But since then the balance of power in the English Premier League has shifted down the M62, with Ferguson’s men closing in on their 12th title under his reign, a feat which would see them claim Liverpool’s long-held status as the country’s most successful football club.

Neville, who retired in February after 602 appearances for United, said the club had enjoyed a remarkable run.

“It would be great for the fans and I think it would be great in terms of the way the club has gone over the last 20 years,” Neville said.

“To get to the point whereby we were 12 championships behind and to think we are now level, is a great achievement.”

Neville downplayed suggestions of acrimony between United and Arsenal – their opponents on Sunday – and suggested Arsenal’s poor form over recent years has seen Chelsea eclipse them as United’s chief rivals.

“People talk about animosity, but I think between the clubs there’s always been a fierce rivalry but there’s never been a point where it’s overstepped the mark on the pitch,” he said.

“I think it’s a competitive game, the Premier League is one of the most competitive leagues in the world. I think people, to be honest with you, want that sort of passion and excitement and I wouldn’t get carried away too much by the spats that have got blown out of proportion.”

“I think Arsenal haven’t been the biggest challengers in the last few years, it’s been Chelsea so you could argue it’s not been as intense but as I’ve said before, on Sunday, when you go out there, it’s one of the biggest games of the season.”

Neville also admitted he would love to see his old teammate Paul Scholes, 36, pull the boots on for another season.

“I love watching Paul Scholes playing football. He’s the best midfield player in the country on his day when he plays,” he said.

“I think it’s up to Paul, he doesn’t need me to advise him but I would want him, as a United fan and someone who knows him very well and someone who’s loved playing with him, to see him carry on and continue. I think he’s still got so much to offer.”

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