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'You keep that 'effing armband son' - Sir Alex Ferguson's blunt response to Gary Neville's captaincy doubts

'You keep that 'effing armband son' - Sir Alex Ferguson's blunt response to Gary Neville's captaincy doubts

Sir Alex had some choice words for his skipper.

Gary Neville enjoyed a lengthy stint as captain of Manchester United, but things may have played out differently, if not for some stern word from Sir Alex Ferguson.

As a key member of United's famed 'Class of 92, it came as no surprise to see Neville named co-captain of the club after former-skipper Roy Keane moved to Celtic in 2005.

A stalwart member of United's backline and a vocal voice in the dressing, the decision to award Neville the armband seemed a no-brainer for Sir Alex & co.

But the pressures of the captaincy didn't always sit well with Neville, who, after suffering an injury a year into his role, decided that he would ask Sir Alex to step away from the position of seniority, citing that he 'wasn't contributing like a captain would do.'

As reported by GiveMeSport via Sky Sports, Neville is quoted as saying the following in an interview from 2020:

"I got injured about a year after taking the captaincy and that became really difficult for me because I felt as though I wasn't contributing like a captain would do for the last four years of my career.

"I actually remember going to see Sir Alex one pre-season, I think it was about the third year I was captain, and it was obvious then, we had an amazing team.

Neville goes on to explain that there are plenty of viable candidates in the dressing room, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes etc, stating that he could no longer compete at the level needed of a Manchester United captain:

"I went over to Sir Alex one day, walking over to the training pitch, and said: 'Boss, I don't feel worthy of keeping the captaincy anymore, this team's shifted onto a level that I can't compete at."

Ferguson's response was short and sweet, as he explained why there was no better captaincy duo than Neville and Ryan Giggs:

"And he said: 'You'll keep that effing armband son'. Am I allowed to say that on Sky Sports? I think in lockdown you're allowed to say it.

“And the reason he gave me, he said: 'You and Giggs will rotate it. If I give it to Ronaldo, Rooney will kick off. If I give it to Rooney, Ronaldo will kick off, if I give it to Vidic, Ferdinand won't be happy'.

Neville would go on to remain as captain for another four seasons, with Ryan Giggs eventually taking over as the full-time captain as Neville entered his twilight years.

Despite feeling 'unworthy' of the captaincy, United would go on to lift a host of titles as captain of the club, including the UEFA Champions League in 2008.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Gary Neville, Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United