Gary Neville

From Academic Kids

Gary Neville (born February 18, 1975) is a footballer who is England's most capped right back.

Gary is the elder of the two Neville brothers (the other is younger brother Philip Neville, born 1977) who have been team-mates at both club and international level all their careers - indeed, they play the same position and therefore have found themselves as rivals for a place in the side.

Gary made his debut for Manchester United, his only club, in 1994 and made his first appearance for the England the following year when he was picked by Terry Venables for the friendly against Japan. He has been the first choice right back for his country ever since, playing for four different coaches, and recently won his 75th cap. When he came on as a substitute against Italy at Leeds in 2002, he earned his 51st cap, breaking the record for a right back held by 50-cap Phil Neal.

Gary had been the youngest first choice player in the England first team during Template:Ec, playing in each game until the semi-final, when he was suspended. He also played in the Template:Wc and Template:Ec2.

A broken foot put paid to his hopes of playing the Template:Wc, but he quickly returned to the side after regaining his fitness, and was once again the first choice right back by the time of Template:Ec2.

He has gained a reputation as a 'union' figure within the England camp - he was allegedly the ringleader of an idea to boycott an important Euro 2004 qualifier in Turkey in support of team-mate Rio Ferdinand who had been issued with a ban for missing a drugs test. The strike never occurred and the match went ahead.

In 2005, Gary prompted another debate in the aftermath of an England game against the Netherlands, which had been used to promote the "Let's kick racism out of football" campaign. Gary questioned whether certain corporate sponsors involved in the match believed in the cause enough to justify the publicity they received.

The elder Neville brother is often criticised for his supposedly underwhelming displays, but more shrewd football observers see a competent, experienced defender who can lead teams from the back. He is also useful joining the attack - David Beckham has spent almost all of his career with Gary behind him in support, which he has always said acts as a great reassurance. The two are close friends - Gary was the best man when David married Spice Girl Victoria Adams.

Gary signed a new four year contract with Manchester United in the summer of 2004 and seems now destined to spend his entire playing career there. He is also a good candidate, injury permitting, to achieve 100 appearances for England; or, at the very least, become his country's most capped full back overall - Kenny Sansom, the former Crystal Palace and Arsenal left back, currently holds that honour with 86 caps.

His goals record is not good, even for a defender - a handful for Manchester United in ten years, and none for his country.

Gary has a long standing relationship with the Mediterranean island of Malta, he has been an official tourism ambassador since 2001 and works with Air Malta to promote the country which he has regularly visited since childhood. In return the Malta Tourism Authority and Air Malta sponsor the Gary Neville Soccer School on the island, which Gary tutors at every summer. Advertisements featuring the Man Utd star in Malta are currently running on one tram in Manchester featuring the slogan "This is one booking I'm looking forward to."et:Gary Neville


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