David Beckham: I always believed Phil Neville was better suited to coaching than his brother Gary
BRIAN VINER: As Gary and Phil Neville join forces again at Valencia, it seems more Gary (left) has always taken charge in their relationship. David Beckham has revealed he always believed Phil Neville was better And, although Gary also tested himself as a coach, working as Roy. Yet beyond the red half of Manchester, it's fair to say that Gary and Philip Neville are not the world's most popular football players. Au contraire.
The story goes that once, knocking off from training, Sharpe, already showered and changed and heading for his car, heard the repetitive thud of a ball hitting a wall and went to investigate. It was Gary Nevillepractising his long throw.
Sharpe mocked his dedication, but the games Neville went on to play, long after Sharpe's career was over, famously gave him the last laugh.
It is an odd fact that not one England player of the past 20 years is currently coaching in the Premier League. It says something about our football then that hopes for a Pep Guardiola or a Johan Cruyff, leaders who might set the tone and philosophy of the national game for a generation, seem, for better or worse, currently lie with one or other of the Neville brothers.
What might that philosophy consist of?
Phil Neville appointment a kick in the teeth for better qualified coaches
In an interview, Phil Neville set out some of his thinking. He has apparently been collecting wisdom for the past five years, writing things down. Do you set curfews? But then you think, 'How big is the pitch to make it work?
It is the uncanny gift of being in the right place at the right time. In a habit that used to get on even Gary's nerves when they were staying away from home and due to meet for breakfast at 9am, Phil would be rapping on his brother's door at 8. If a coach was leaving at midday, Phil would generally be waiting for it at 11am. It is this quality, more than any other, that successive managers have seemed to prize about their utility man. As Neville cheerfully admits, as Everton captain he "rambles on" but nobody really listens to what "the Manc" has to say.
Moyes brought him to Everton it seems principally to set the tone on the training field: Going one step further, he subsequently persuaded at least half the Everton squad to spend the night before games with him in a hotel "often without the gaffer knowing" just so they could be sure not to miss anything.
But being the subject of many a pub debate up and down the country means there are plenty of people who would relish the opportunity to ask them a question or two.
Gary & Phil Neville: One-on-One | FourFourTwo
Who was the more talented youngster? And who is the better player now? Tracy Archbold, Milton Keynes Gary: Phil was always more talented as a youngster. He got in England schoolboy teams and things like that. I was struggling to even get in the county team — I was sub at times — whereas Phil was always one of the best in the country. I never got close to making England teams. Is there a huge sibling rivalry between you?
Rob Buchanan, Milton Keynes Phil: No, never has been. At the start it was a bit weird, two brothers playing in the same team, but you get used to it. Which of you got into most trouble as a kid?
He was very opinionated too. It became more serious than things like wagging school, which I never did.
In the final year I saw sense and decided to conform, but for three years — between the second and the fourth year — I was a pain in the backside. I very rarely got into trouble. Is it true you two get most stick from team-mates?
Matthew Whitty, Basingstoke G: Because they give it to us together, we give as good back together as well. Alan Grott, via email G: I think we would. We like watching football and are both sporty.
Not everybody is the same. Nick Gamble, Manchester P: Sometimes he just needs to chill out a bit. Phil has a habit of being ridiculously early.
Ever donned a PE skirt and played netball with your sister Tracey? Jerry Greig, Bristol P: But we went to see her play in the Commonwealth games. It is fair to say that some fans have it in for you. Gary Jones, via e-mail P: If I started getting stick from them then that obviously becomes a problem.
But getting stick at other grounds is something I quite enjoy, to be honest with you. How did it feel to be the first brothers to play together for England since the Charltons? Jason Rogan, via e-mail P: My mum and dad were probably more proud than us because at the time you only think about your own selection.
Gary was 20, I was 18 and playing for England was a massive thing in itself. Which of you would win a fight? Danny Moore, Southfields P: Hypothetically, who would win? You know, we probably did have fights when we were really young. Not fights but I threw a gun at you once and cut your eye, do you remember? Elliot Rogers, Islington G: They may have to go part-time but even that would be a shame. Towns have football clubs as their identity and there are many other small clubs with great traditions like Bury.
Ross Strachan, Whiston, Merseyside G: The chant comes from a piece I did in a United fanzine about eight years ago. You two and David Beckham are always good about clapping the fans. Stephanie Hanson, Altrincham G: They come every week and pay good money.
Wherever we play we have a full house, because people want to watch Manchester United play. Being relatively local lads yourselves, how do you feel about the increasing number of Manchester United fans who come from other areas? Chris Brown, via e-mail G: There is a massive thing made about where Man United fans come from.
As for Manchester, 75 percent of people are probably United fans. How did you each feel when only Gary was selected by Glenn Hoddle for France 98? Mark Greig, Romford P: It was probably the lowest point for me. I was almost sure I was going.
How Phil and Gary Neville embrace the Woody Allen route to management
As you get older you look back and take it on the chin, but at the time it was? It was a terrible two or three days. The lead up to it was massive.
Then Phil, Butty and Gazza got left out. There was a big trauma in the squad. What should have been the happiest moment in your life actually became a trauma for a few days. In training the next day there was a real low, a really dead atmosphere.
Being told in the privacy of your own home, where you can handle it in your own way, was probably better, but the disappointment was still the same. How did you spend your time? Matt Hart, Brighton P: