Premiership Champions (Manchester United)
1999 Premiership Champions (Manchester United)
2000 Premiership Champions (Manchester United)
2001 Premiership Champions (Manchester United)
2003 Premiership Champions (Manchester United)
1999 FA Cup winner (Manchester United)
Philip Neville (born January 21, 1977 in Bury, England) is an
English football player, who has spent most of his professional
career at Manchester United, the team he joined as a youngster,
but now plays for Everton.
The younger brother of Manchester United Captain Gary Neville,
and the twin of Tracey Neville, a netball starlet, Phil made his
debut for Manchester United in 1994 and from that point was a
regular, although not consistent, member of the first team until
he left the club in the summer of 2005. A versatile player, Phil
can play in defence or midfield. He has mainly played as a left
back (despite being right-footed) though it is genuinely unclear
where his strongest position on the pitch is.
Phil has also regularly been picked for England squads, making
his debut as a 19-year-old against China in 1996. He was only
briefly a regular first-choice player for the side, as a left
back in 2000 under Kevin Keegan's management. In recent times he
has struggled to make the squad with youngsters such as Stephen
Warnock being preferred as backup to Ashley Cole. He has,
nonetheless, once briefly captained the side in a friendly
Phil's England career included the honour of being the youngest
member of Terry Venables' squad for Euro 96, though he never
kicked a ball (his brother played in every match until the semi-finals);
he was one of the players omitted at the last minute by Glenn
Hoddle when he was selecting his final 22 for the 1998 World Cup.
It is known that Hoddle's decision left Phil in tears, though
media attention was almost entirely devoted to the exclusion of
another player, Paul Gascoigne. Phil revealed in an interview
that Gascoigne, not known for his maturity, took the younger
Neville brother under his wing and consoled him.
Keegan played Phil at left back in Euro 2000; Neville was partly
responsible for England's early exit from the competition,
committing a needless foul which led to a late penalty for
Romania which they scored to win the match and eliminate England.
Neither of the Neville brothers went to the 2002 World Cup -
Phil was left out, while Gary was injured. Both were back in the
squad for Euro 2004.
Phil continued to play for Manchester United and seemed destined
to spend his whole career there. Like his brother, arguably to a
greater extent, he is much maligned by some football fans but
more seasoned observers of the game see a mature, versatile and
unfussy player who has proved very worthwhile as part of
Manchester United's success. When Phil won his 50th England cap
in 2004, however, former Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough,
in his monthly Four Four Two column, bemoaned that such an
"average" performer could achieive this milestone. As of
December 2005 his tally had risen to 52 caps.
On August 4, 2005 Phil joined Everton on a 5-year contract for a
fee in excess of £3million. He made his debut in a UEFA
Champions League qualifier against Villarreal CF of Spain,
coming face-to-face with his former Manchester United colleague
Diego Forlan. The following weekend, Phil made his FA Premier
League bow for the Toffeemen. Fittingly, it was against
Manchester United. The match marked the first time Phil and
brother Gary had faced off for opposing teams.
Phil is married with two children.
Phil was also an excellent cricketer in his youth and a
contemporary in Lancashire's Under-19 side of England's star
all-rounder Andrew Flintoff. It is said that he was good enough
to have been a professional cricketer if football had not
claimed him. One of Phil's former coaches called him the
greatest schoolboy cricketer he'd ever known. His father, the
wonderfully named Neville Neville, was a well-known league
cricketer in Lancashire.