Phil Neville and Paul Scholes.

UTD Podcast: How did Neville annoy Scholes?

Tuesday 25 August 2020 09:00

Phil Neville and Paul Scholes shared a football pitch for a decade, winning numerous trophies for Manchester United during one of the club’s most successful spells.

However, when it came to time spent away from the game – specifically sharing a room – the homegrown pair weren’t a great fit, according to Neville.

In a humorous extract from the latest episode of UTD Podcast, the 43-year-old, who is currently head coach of the England Women’s national team, recalls how he and Scholes were lumped together for a European trip.

Although great friends and international colleagues, it quickly became apparent that Scholes preferred different company when preparing for a key match.

“He didn’t enjoy me,” said Neville. “The thing with Scholesy was, with England, we had our own rooms, he liked his curtains closed all day and literally you would go into his room as if it was 2am in the morning all day long.

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“He used to just like watching telly with the curtains closed. I would wake up and open the curtains, bright and breezy, busy. I think that was Brondby away, that was a one-day experience that Scholesy never had again.

“I thought we’d be a match made in heaven, we were close friends. I brought Maynard’s wine gums for him, he liked sweets. The minute I walked in the room, even me unpacking the bag annoyed him.

“Everything I did annoyed him. If I went to the toilet and flushed, and then wiped the sink down, it annoyed him. It wasn’t good for Scholesy. We needed him to be on form for the match.

“‘Cup of tea?’, I was like, ‘Scholesy, I will do anything for you, you just say it and I’ll be there’. He just hated everything about the energy that I was giving off in the room!”

Room-sharing is rare in the modern game, with players usually enjoying their own space on away and continental trips.

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It was a different story in the 1990s, with Phil soon discovering his incompatibility with Scholes and another midfielder who had different habits to his own.

Ultimately, Phil would end up sharing with the member of the United squad he was most like and knew best – his brother, Gary.

“I roomed with Jordi Cruyff, because me and Jordi Cruyff were quite close, for two trips, but he used to play Football Manager up until about 3am in the morning, and I used to go to bed at nine o’clock so we weren’t really that compatible.

“[The only one who was compatible] was my brother. We’d rise early and go to bed early so we stuck together really.

“Obviously, Gary and Becks [David Beckham] were close but Gary and Becks were totally the opposite.

“Becks would stay up late, get up late and Gary was busy as well. So, they just stuck us together.”

The Phil Neville UTD Podcast is available to listen to on all your favourite podcast platforms.