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Gary Neville Reveals Brutal Treatment He Received From Schmeichel After Making His United Debut

Gary Neville Reveals Brutal Treatment He Received From Schmeichel After Making His United Debut

Gary Neville was able to walk away from his time at Manchester United in 2011 as both a one-club man and club legend.

It wasn't all plain sailing for the former England international after he recently opened up about his experience with fellow club legend Peter Schmeichel.

The 43-year-old former right-back became one of the first players from the Class of '92 -- out of David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Phil Neville and Paul Scholes -- to break into the senior team, with Sir Alex Ferguson handing him his first appearance at the age of 17.

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Speaking on the Quickly Kevin, will he score? podcast (via the Daily Mirror), the Sky Sports pundit revealed the tough love he received from the 54-year-old Dane in the early part of his career.

"When I first got into the first team at 18/19, Peter Schmeichel, I've said it before, quite often was brutal with me," he said. "Now, I speak to him and we laugh about it, but he brutally was, yeah.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"He didn't fancy me as a player that much. Peter Schmeichel was the goalkeeper and that back four of [Steve] Bruce, [Gary] Pallister, [Paul] Parker and [Denis] Irwin was legendary.

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"I was the first to break into that and he saw it as a risk, he saw it as a challenge to the fact that we'd been successful.

"Paul Parker picked up an injury and I started getting in at right-back, and obviously as a young player, you're not perfect, you make a couple of mistakes and he just absolutely battered me in training, daily, about my defending, my crossing.

"He used to do this crossing practice after the game and he used to stand on the penalty spot and catch it and say, "That's s***." He regularly just did that and he was actually just being really tough and horrible with me."

The former United star explained that it wasn't only Schmeichel who cracked down the whip. In fact, he said that there were several players who kept their eye on him and ensured that he didn't step out of line.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"Paul Ince was exactly the same, Roy Keane, Bryan Robson, Sparky -- Mark Hughes -- if you didn't play the ball into his feet when he made a run, the stare... it was a really [tough] group of players," he explained.

"Brucey [Steve Bruce], I remember one game at Leeds away, absolutely hammering me on the way in at half-time. I'd gone forward and I'd left him exposed in the channel. I probably should have been back alongside him and tucked in.

"I remember these instances of players really sort of being difficult or nasty, you'd say, actually, but looking back now, I'm so happy I came through that system of real leaders and characters as I saw them.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"They were brilliant players, brilliant lads as well, always helping us as well.

"They were brilliant with us off the pitch, but they were [tough] to play with and tough to come through with because they demanded the highest standards -- they were champions of the country and they'd created one of the best United teams that's ever lived -- that '94 team.

"It was tough, but you had to come through it or you couldn't survive."

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Is Peter Schmeichel the best 'keeper in Premier League history?

Let us know in the comments.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Football News, Football, Manchester United, Gary Neville, Peter Schmeichel

Adnan Riaz

Adnan Riaz is a journalist for SPORTbible. He studied for a B.A. in History at the University of York and followed it up with an M.A. in Multimedia Journalism at MMU. Before he started writing about sports, he spent over four years in the gaming press. He has worked for several publications, including Hardcore Gamer, LADbible and the Manchester Evening News. Follow him on Twitter to find out what he is working on next. Got a story tip for Adnan? Email him: [email protected]

 

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