Gary Neville reveals what it took to break into the Manchester United first-team

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Gary Neville has revealed the drastic measures he went to, to ensure he made the grade at Manchester United

The Sky Sports pundit was a vital cog for club and country during his playing career, making 602 appearances for the Red Devils and being capped 85 times by England. 

However, it could have been so different for the Old Trafford legend had he not made some vital decisions when he was still a teenager.


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Neville was originally a central midfielder during his time in the United academy, but quickly realised he was not going to make it, in that position, when the likes of Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and David Beckham came along. 

However, what the 40-year-old did next is an example for all young players hoping to break through into the first-team at their respective clubs. 

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In a video posted by the University of Salford, Neville said: "I recognised at that point that I had to work so much harder than I ever could have imagine really to get there.

"At sixteen I completely lost touch with all my school friends, I made a conscious decision that they wanted different things from their lives than I did. They were doing different things, they socialised. I never socialised for two years. 

"From the age of 16 to 18 I went to bed at half eight, nine o'clock every night, woke up half six, seven o'clock every morning.

"In the afternoons when we had them off, I trained, in the evening when everyone went home, I'd train with the schoolboys. I just threw my life into it for two-years and the outcome of that was I started to play for the reserves and the first-team."


Neville was part of the famous 'Class of 92', that brought Manchester United so much success and helped build the foundations of Sir Alex Ferguson's era as manager.

A feat like that may never be seen again in the modern football world, with academy graduates often struggling to break into the first-team at top-level clubs. 

However, how many young players coming through academies today possess the same drive and mentality of a young Gary Neville?

Will we ever see something like the 'Class of 92' again or have those days gone? Have your say below!

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Gary Neville
Premier League
Manchester United

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