Eight years after leaving Manchester United as a player, Phil Neville has returned as a coach under new manager David Moyes. And the lifelong Red and Treble winner couldn’t be happier to be back…
"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 come back now is the most 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.
Arriving at the Aon Training Complex on my first day really was like coming home. Normally when you start a new job you have a few butterflies going but as soon as I walked through the door and saw Kath on reception and other familiar faces it just felt normal. There is 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 really can’t wait.
Coming on tour and spending time on and off the pitch with the squad has been fantastic and a really beneficial exercise in terms of getting to know everyone. Training has been brilliant and the thing that has stood out for me has been the players’ professionalism. That is ultimately what sets the good players apart from the great players. You ask them to do something and they do it – they don’t need to be told twice and when they do it they do it properly. You might ask them to do 10 reps and they do 15 because they know what it takes to be a top, top player and they do everything they can in order to achieve that. They don’t cut corners – they train well, they prepare right, they eat the right food and their attitude is top quality.
It’s probably the longest pre-season tour I’ve ever been on and that in itself provides challenges for everyone – the travelling involved, the time difference, being away from your family and the amount of commitments the