TALKING SPORT: Retiring Man Utd stalwart is one of a kind

Jack Preston analyses Gary Neville’s decision to retire from football

They say there’s no such thing as an honest politician. This phrase is often applied to footballers, but Manchester United defender Gary Neville has become the exception to this after announcing his retirement with immediate effect.

Neville, 35, revealed his plans after discovering he had failed to make the cut in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final squad for the Champions League knockout stages.

He can, however, leave the game with his head held high after enjoying 19 years playing at the top level for club and country, winning various prestigious trophies and accolades including the Premier League title (8), the FA Cup (3), and the Champions League (2).

Neville has always professed his love for the Red Devils, stating that he is a life-long supporter and that it had always been his dream to play for United.

As well as his extravagant trophy cabinet, the elder of the Neville brothers also possesses a wicked sense of humour, which former team-mate Carlos Tevez has found himself in the firing line of on occasions.

He will undoubtedly be missed at Old Trafford after becoming part of the fixtures and fittings, but it’s a decision which he described as being ‘the right time’. The departure of the ex-England defender may not leave too much of a void in Sir Alex’s side, but it’s certainly got the potential to.

Understandably, many believe football has long since been consumed by money and greed, with certain players’ salaries exceeding £150,000 a week and transfer fees rocketing to £90m.

Coincidently, the British transfer record was smashed on Monday by Chelsea, after acquiring the signing of Spaniard Fernando Torres for no less than an astonishing £50m.

A pauper’s salary at Old Trafford is believed to be in the region of £75,000 a week. So assuming that Neville was earning a wage similar to this figure, then you can only applaud his honesty in leaving that behind.

Hats off to the legend that is Gary Neville, I’m sure many will agree that they broke the mould when they made this one. He was regarded as one of the strongest and most resilient defenders in the modern game, in addition to being an icon to all aspiring youngsters, both on and off the pitch.

Deservedly, he will go down in Manchester folklore.

* Agree or disagree with Jack Preston? Is Gary Neville’s loyalty at the level we will never see again in football? Email with your views.