Sir Alex Ferguson feels there could be no more fitting a skipper to win the FA Cup than Phil Neville.
The Everton captain openly admitted he could not celebrate in front of the Manchester United fans after he stroked home his effort in the penalty shoot-out that eventually helped seal a May 30 showdown with Chelsea. Instead, Neville made his way to the Toffees faithful before acknowledging his satisfaction.
And Ferguson, who had the 32-year-old under his control for a decade before letting him leave for Goodison Park in 2005, said: "Phil is one of the special people in the game so I hope he is picking up that cup."
He added: "Everyone knows his connection to Manchester United. He was here so long as a kid.
"I know he was captaining Everton in a semi-final but don't tell me there was not one small part in him that was saying, 'Christ I am going to knock Manchester United out of the cup here'.
"It goes to show you the integrity of the man. He is a fantastic person and no-one in the game deserves it more than he does."
Neville knows he owes his opportunity to Ferguson's decision to field a team packed with youngsters on Sunday.
It is a call the Scot insists was right, particularly with a Barclays Premier League encounter with Portsmouth looming on Wednesday.
"I am absolutely convinced I picked the right team," he said. "I have no regrets about it at all.
"I knew there would be some criticism because it did not work for us. What I did was make sure our supporters were going to see a representation, not just of the future, but a squad that is strong enough to be able to cope."
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