Neville to join Sky Sports team

BY foxsports • April 8, 2011

Neville announced his retirement earlier this year after deciding his body could no longer cope with the demands of top-flight action. The 36-year-old has plenty to occupy him at present as he continues working for his coaching badges and sorts arrangements for his testimonial against Juventus on Tuesday, May 24, just four days before a potential United appearance in the Champions League final. However, from next season, Neville will be on the other side of the camera as Sky fill a position created following the axing of Andy Gray in January. And that raises the potential for Neville having to criticise the club he has supported all his life and made over 600 appearances for during a stellar playing career. The prospect of a conflict of views with Sir Alex Ferguson is clear. But Neville is adamant he will speak his mind the same way he has always done. "Everybody who knows me will accept that I will speak honestly on what I see," he said. "I have experience of playing in the Premier League, Champions League and for England. "I understand what goes on in those matches, so I have the ability to speak about them. That is whether it is Manchester United or not. "I am sure people are going to be looking and asking how he can remain impartial. The reality is the game is the game. "If they play well and win, they play well and win. If they don't play well, they don't. "You never see Alex Ferguson trying to shy away from how the team has performed. That will be the same with me next year." Neville's recent appearance in the studio alongside Ryan Giggs for England's Euro 2012 qualifying victory over Wales in Cardiff suggested the former defender would be a very effective addition to the Sky team. He has always been one of the more forthright members of the United dressing room and that attitude is unlikely to change, even though Neville admits to being more relaxed since he quit football after a particularly dismal performance at West Brom on New Years' Day. However, he will not be abandoning his links to United, having agreed to join Sir Bobby Charlton and Bryan Robson as club ambassadors. "Gary has been associated with this club for over two decades and has always been a firm favourite with our fans," said chief executive David Gill. "He has a real passion for Manchester United and it is important that we keep the association of our long-serving players through this key role. "Gary will represent the club at various events to help bring the Manchester United family to the wider community." Neville's presence in the visitors' section for the Red Devils' recent Premier League defeat at Chelsea was an indication he may occasionally get to games as a supporter too. For the moment though, he is immersed in preparations for the visit of Juventus, the team he famously helped to defeat in that epic 1999 Champions League semi-final. "I am more nervous than I have ever been in my life looking forward to a match," he said. "I have no regrets about my career. "I grew up as a Manchester United fan and I loved playing for the club for every minute I was here, apart from my last game. "I was on edge for 20 years thinking I was representing this football club. "At times I did things that weren't ideal. But that is just the passion of playing for this football club. "Now I can still support them from a more relaxed environment."