GARY NEVILLE, the veteran England and Manchester United defender, last night retired from the game with immediate effect after almost 20 years at the top level.
The 35-year-old, who won every major club honour in a career spent solely at his boyhood club, made the last of his 602 appearances for United on New Year’s Day.
Neville has not confirmed his next move but is tipped to either take up a coaching role at Old Trafford or become a television pundit.
“Obviously I am disappointed that my playing days are at an end, however it comes to us all and it’s knowing when that time is,” he said. “I’ve been a Manchester United fan all my life and fulfilled every dream I’ve ever had. I am looking forward to new experiences and the club will always be a part of my life going forward.”
Neville, who won 82 England caps, has been criticised for some shaky appearances this season. But he will be remembered as part of an exceptional generation which included David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes and became the backbone of the team’s most successful era.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson said: “Gary was the best English right-back of his generation.”