Date: 29th November 2006 at 3:51pm
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I was a bit sad to see the back of Phil Neville in 2005 but to see him doing so well for Everton was really good. Sir Alex Ferguson is happy, too, that Phil has become a success at Goodison and hailed him as an exceptional player – exceptional from one aspect.

‘Phil is one of the few players who’s left here and done well,’ said Sir Alex.

‘He’s had a great time at Everton and he’s now captain, which I’m really pleased to see. I think he’ll get a fantastic reception when he comes into Old Trafford tonight.’

It will be a historic occasion: it’s the first time that two brother captain opposing teams in the Premiership, with Gary Neville wearing the armband for the Reds. We knew it could happen after the club have released Phil in 2005 – even if that was a difficult decision, at least according to Fergie.

‘It was more in Phil’s best interests than mine when I decided to let him go,’ said Sir Alex.

‘I could no longer be sure of giving him regular first-team football and I had too much respect for him to let him linger in the reserves.

‘When he was at United, I liked the way he made time to help the youngsters when they arrived. He’s a clubman and he’s clearly won the trust of David Moyes.’