Phil Neville has spoken of his love for life at Manchester United and how much he enjoyed working under David Moyes at Old Trafford.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, the 37-year-old opened up on life under the Scot and admitted the day Moyes was sacked was his darkest day in football.
Moyes' reign at Old Trafford produced few happy memories, but Neville insisted working under his former Everton manager at the club where he spent the majority of his career was a thoroughly enjoyable experience nonetheless.
"I once woke up at 4.30 in the morning and wondered if it was too early to go into work," he admitted.
‘My wife would laugh at me, but it got so bad I wanted to sleep there. I was sleeping two hours a night, because I just wanted to go back to work.
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‘I was so professional as a player but as a coach, I actually wanted to move into Carrington. It really was the best thing I’ve experienced in my football life, being a coach. Better than anything I ever experienced as a player.’
Neville's love for life at the club only made it more difficult when he awoke on Easter Monday to the news that Moyes had been shown the door after 10 miserable months as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor.
"It was my worst day in football, just terrible," he confessed.
"I’m not sure I was shocked, so much, by the dismissal. I was just shocked by the way it was handled. Anyone can get sacked in football. But I was shocked by the way they did it; hearing about it the day before. The media seemed to hear before the manager and the staff.
"This was Man United. This was a club that, for me, did things the right way. I just thought we didn’t do it the right way. We could have handled it the way the club has handled big decisions in the past.
It was late on that Easter Monday that Neville finally realised his manager’s position was in jeopardy. The next morning he was up early as usual, and at Carrington by 7am.
"We all got in early," he says. "It was bad because these are my friends. These are people I have a lot of respect for. This is a man who gave me an opportunity. I only went back to United because of David Moyes.
"I’d never seen people lose their jobs like that. The gaffer came out and said he thought I was safe for the time being. And when I spoke to Ed (Woodward) he asked me if I would stick around to assist Ryan (Giggs).
"But that didn’t make it any easier. I was just in a daze. Half an hour later I’m out on the training ground. It was just surreal. I was trying to organise a session with Ryan but my head was mashed.
"I wasn’t there when David then spoke to the players but I think it was Anders Lindegaard who came out and said the manager had just given one of the best speeches he’d ever heard.
"The manager is an honourable man. He didn’t have to address the players, but he wanted to.
"If he walked back into Old Trafford now he’d get a standing ovation. The fans recognise he had guts taking that job. A few top managers went ducking for cover when it became available, but he said, “I’ll take the job”. I think he should be proud of that."
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