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Man Utd hero Schmeichel brutally told Neville he wasn’t good enough to replace Parker while Bruce ‘ripped him to shreds’

MANCHESTER UNITED legend Gary Neville has revealed he was given a torrid time during his first senior season by Peter Schmeichel.

Neville was just 17 when he was handed his Red Devils debut by Sir Alex Ferguson against Torpedo Moscow in 1992.

Neville came in to the side to replace fan favourite Paul Parker after starring with David Beckham, Paul Scholes and David Beckham in United’s youth team.

However, the likes of goalkeeper Schmeichel and fellow defender Steve Bruce were not impressed by what they saw.

And Neville claims he was constantly given a dressing down in order to build up his mental resilience.

Neville told Sky Sports’ The Football Show: “The one that was hardest with me was Schmeichel, he was brutal with me in that first year or two.

“Schmeichel was constant, every single day in training at me.

“He told me on the team day out, he didn’t think I was capable of replacing Parker, nowhere near as good as him.

“It was maybe true as Parker was a very good defender.

“That back four of Irwin, Bruce, Pallister and Parker had played two or three years and kept clean sheets.

“I was the first player to break into it. Schmeichel saw me as a risk and I was a risk in some ways.

“I didn’t see it as tough love at the time, I saw it as being brutal but it did toughen me up eventually.

“I realised the team wanted to win. Some days it was hard. I remember [Bruce] ripped me to shreds and I was thinking, ‘what’s going on here?’”

Despite their doubts, Neville went on to play nearly 600 games for United, winning 12 league titles and two Champions Leagues.


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