Former Reds defender Phil Neville spoke to Inside United this month about ‘coming home’ to Old Trafford as a first-team coach…
We know you did some coaching with the England youngsters earlier this year, but if you could have picked one job for your first coaching role it would have been at United wouldn’t it?
Definitely. There is no question this is the dream job for me. When I left eight years ago I always said I wanted to come back to United in some capacity one day. I knew it was probably never going to be as a player so being a coach was the next step. There was never a day that went by where I wasn’t keeping an interest in what was going on at United and to have come back is the perfect scenario for me. I know I need to grasp this opportunity with both hands and make sure I tap into everything that’s going on at this club. So far it’s been fantastic.
Did it feel like coming home on that first day you drove into the Aon Training Complex?
Yes, it did. Usually when you start a new job you have the feeling of butterflies in your stomach, but as soon as I walked through the door and saw Kath on reception [the training ground’s long-serving receptionist] and other familiar faces, it just felt normal. There’s that continuity and that loyalty – it’s what makes this club so successful. The transition could not have been any smoother, but at the same time I know this will probably be the biggest challenge of my career. I’m loving every minute of it.
Ryan Giggs told us it’s almost like starting your career all over again with regard to the coaching roles for you both?
That’s exactly how it feels. You finish your career as an old, experienced player who has been there and done it and then you start your coaching career as someone who is right at the bottom of the ladder again. I think what gives me and Ryan maybe a little bit of a head start is the careers we’ve had and the fact we’ve spent so many years at