Gary Neville has picked Arsenal as the first team he would have joined if he had left Manchester United in his playing days.
The Englishman ended his career as a one-club man in 2011 and he had one of the most distinguished careers in Premier League history.
A member of the class of 92, Neville spent his whole career as a right-back for the Red Devils as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side dominated the English and European game.
One team that rivalled United at the time was Arsenal with the Gunners being led by Arsene Wenger, they challenged them on all fronts and it seems that they left a lasting impression on Neville.
The footballer-turned-pundit was discussing his career recently and he admitted that if he had left Manchester United, he would most likely have ended up at Arsenal.
Although he talked about joining Aston Villa and Newcastle as well, Arsenal was the first team he mentioned before adding Bayern Munich as a continental option.
He told Sky Sports: “I’m fortunate in the sense that, because I signed a five year deal or six year deal when I was 29, it ran out when I was 34, I’d made the decision that if Sir Alex came up to me at the end of that contract and said ‘Gary, your time’s up’, I was never going to go and play for another club.
“I made that decision that I only wanted Manchester United next to my name.
“However, if he’d come to me at 28 and said, ‘Gary, your time’s up’, of course I would’ve gone and played for another Premier League club. I would have had to have done, because ultimately I’m a football player.
“If you said to me, in the perfect world, in my years of growing up in the Premier League, playing, which clubs would I say did I think had some real tradition, they’re a proper club?
“Arsenal would be number one. You used to go to Highbury, you could just feel the tradition of the place, and I just felt they always did things the right way.
“The clubs in Europe I always admired were Juventus and Bayern Munich because we played them a lot in the late 90s, early 2000s and I just respected them as football clubs in terms of the teams that they had.
“Bayern Munich always felt meticulous in their preparation, so for me, Bayern Munich would be the club I would choose internationally.
“In the Premier League, it would be Arsenal – not that Arsenal would ever want me or I’d ever want to go to Arsenal.
“But that would be the club, to be fair, that I’d say have got the most tradition in terms of history.
“I also like Aston Villa, Newcastle are another club – in fact I’d play for anybody!
“If at 28 or 29 Sir Alex had said to go I would’ve said Arsenal, Aston Villa, Newcastle, they are the three clubs I would’ve looked at.”
Really a shame about the mismanagement of this club after it achieved success. Arsenal and United were considered the pinnacle, but we made the wrong decisions consistently and are where we are now. Really a shame…