Phil Neville has claimed that David Moyes had complete trust in him from the minute he walked into the Everton dressing room in 2005.
Having come through the Manchester United academy before making his debut in 1994/95, Neville played for the Red Devils for over a decade.
He made 378 appearances in that time, and won six Premier League titles, three FA Cups and a Champions League as part of the club’s historic treble-winning team in 1998/99.
However, in his final campaign at the club, he played in just 19 league matches, and decided that it was time for a fresh start elsewhere.
Moving to Merseyside at the age of 28, some may have wondered where Neville’s career was heading.
However, Moyes did not appear to have any doubts over his new signing. Speaking on the High Performance Podcast – who GIVEMESPORT has an exclusive partnership with – Neville explained how Moyes had total faith in him from the start and showed that by handing him the captain’s armband early on.
Neville said: “The biggest influence was David Moyes. He was like: ‘Here, this is your dressing room, this is what I want you to do. And third game in, he made me captain and I remember ‘please don’t make me captain.’
“David Weir was there, Alan Stubbs who’d just qualified for the Champions League, and he made me captain. I was like: ‘No, it’s too early, just let me have 12 months.’ ‘You’re captain.’ Straight away.
“And the dressing room was like ‘teacher’s pet, Moyes’ little boy, this little grass’ and all this business, and he was firm. ‘I’ve come in here and I’m going to change something, and you’re going to be the one that polices that dressing room and drives that dressing room.’
“And his belief in me was incredible. From the minute he asked my father for me to sign, from even to this day, his belief in me has been unbreakable.
“From the time he took me to United as a coach. First day there, I literally thought I was going to be bibs and cones, he went: ‘Right, you take the warm-up, you take the possession.’ The trust he’d given me was probably like no other coach has given me and I think that was massive for me.”
It was a bold move from Moyes to hand Neville the captaincy so quickly, but it was just the first example of his belief in the former United man.
Neville would go on to play under Moyes at Everton for eight years, before joining the Scot as one of his coaches at Old Trafford.
Their stay at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ was short-lived, with Moyes sacked within a year of taking the manager’s post.
Yet it seems that Neville learnt plenty under his tutelage, as he then went on take a coaching role at Valencia, prior to being named manager of the England women’s team in 2018.
During his time in charge, he led the side to a World Cup semi-final, where they were edged out by eventual champions USA.
Neville had a decorated playing career, and is on his way to making a significant mark as a coach. Yet when he looks back at his time in the sport which has spanned across almost three decades, he is clear over how profound an influence Moyes had on him.