Former Manchester United legend Gary Neville turned out for England national side 85 times between 1995 and 2007 and made 400 appearances for his club ManU and was a part of the famous “Class of 1992”.
Interestingly, Neville had a choice when it came to choosing professions, as he had the options of taking up cricket or football fulltime. In his early days at the Manchester United academy, Neville used to play cricket for Greenmount in the Bolton League.
Gary Neville gave an interview to the Wisden Cricket Monthly and recounted how he scored a century for Greenmount in 1992, with Australian Matthew Hayden as his partner at the other end. Then 17, Neville recalls a valuable advice from Hayden.
“I hit a bad shot, and Hayden came up to me and said, ‘Concentrate, I don’t want any of that crap, this is not the time’. That mentality of ‘You don’t get out, you don’t give your wicket away’. That was something I didn’t value enough. He did. Even then. He valued his wicket,” said Neville.
Neville said that he always wanted to be a part of the legendary Australian team and play with the likes of Waugh twins, Warne, McGrath, Gilchrist and Gillespie.
“That Australian side was everything I would want in a team,” Neville said. “You know what I love? The mentality. They were always on the front foot and they never backed off,” the former England captain said.
“I’d say cricket toughened me up in my early years a lot more than football, because I was playing in the third, second and first team until the age of 15. We were playing with men, some professionals of that time, fast bowlers, with your helmet on. It was really scary,” he said.