500 club! Everton captain Neville set to become seventh man in illustrious group
22:00 GMT, 25 December 2012
Phil Neville will add his name to an illustrious group on Boxing Day when he becomes only the seventh man to make 500 appearances in the Barclays Premier League.
During a career that spans 19 years, Everton’s captain has won almost every honour in the game and represented England on 59 occasions but his ambition and determination to make the most of every day means he is reaching the landmark figure quicker than expected.
Fergie's fledgling: Phil Neville was at United from 1995
End/start: Neville left Manchester United in 2005
Skipper: He has led Everton with distinction since 2007
NEVILLE IN NUMBERS
19: Seasons in the Premier League… 11 at United and eight at Everton
3: Red cards 82: Yellow cards 9: Goals scored
263: Matches for United 444: starts
First game: United v Manchester City (February 11, 1995)
100th: United v Middlesbrough (May 9, 1999)
200th: United v Southampton (November 2, 2002)
300th: Everton v Tottenham (August 26, 2006)
400th: Everton v Aston Villa (April 12, 2009)
TOP 10 IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE
Ryan Giggs 607
David James 572
Gary Speed 535
Frank Lampard 531
Emile Heskey 516
Sol Campbell 503
PHIL NEVILLE 499
Paul Scholes 495
Jamie Carragher 491
Mark Schwarzer 486
*Brother Gary played 400
Neville, after all, only had surgery to correct a knee problem in November that should have meant he was laid up for eight weeks.
However, when he returned to Everton’s starting line-up at West Ham on Saturday, it was only 36 days after his operation.
Though he will be 36 in January, Neville’s enthusiasm remains undiminished and it has prompted Everton manager David Moyes — whose side will be aiming to consolidate their grip on a place in the top five with victory against Wigan — to label him as the model professional.
‘People would be amazed by the amount of work and conditioning Phil has put in to get himself right,’ said Moyes.
'He continually works hard. He is in every morning at 8.30am, he doesn’t leave until late. The rehabilitation work he puts himself through — never at any stage does he complain.
'He just continually pushed himself to try and get back. The biggest impact that it should have on everyone is the manner of what he has done.
'They might not say it but I think they would all have to have admiration for how he continually prepares himself and the way he goes about playing.
'It has helped him recover from this injury. We will have to look after him. He has had a bit of cartilage taken away, so we will have to be careful that it is not bone on bone in his knee. I might need to try to calm him down a bit!'
Cheers, bro: Neville remains close with his brother Gary, with whom he broke through at United
Better together: His relationship with David Moyes has helped Everton thrive
Very few players have left Old
Trafford during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign and gone on to enjoy
successful careers elsewhere but Neville has been an integral part of
Everton’s development under Moyes, who hugely appreciates his captain’s
achievement in reaching 500 appearances.
says a lot about what he’s done,’ said Moyes, who has certainly got
value for money from Neville since signing him for 3.5million in August
'But it doesn’t
surprise me because his mentality and his attitude to the game have been
great since he came from Manchester United.'
Pedigree: The midfielder has played for England 59 times, though not since 2007
Neville has six months remaining on his current contract and Moyes added: 'He’s been a great signing. The best person to talk about (the future) is Phil because I’ve already spoken to him and he just wants to see how his body is.
'He's just back from a knee operation and he would be the first one to say that we should just see how his knee is. I don’t think he sees any great panic in it at this moment in time.'
SPORTSMAIL'S FIVE FAVOURITE NEVILLE MOMENTS
Manchester United debut v Manchester City (February 11, 1995)
Neville played at right back (right) in the fabled defence that included Bruce, Pallister and Schmeichel, as Paul Ince, Andrei Kanchelskis and Andy Cole secured a 3-0 win.
Setting up Eric Cantona at St James’ Park (March 4, 1996)
His surge down the left flank and cross for Cantona led to United beating Newcastle 1-0 and the victory gave Ferguson’s side the impetus to go on to win the Premier League title. It was the first of Neville’s six gongs.
Winning goal at Chelsea (February 28, 1998)
Neville has only scored nine goals in his 499 appearances to date but this, in a 1-0 victory, was the pick of the bunch, a bending right-foot effort that gave Dmitri Kharine no chance.
Everton debut v Manchester United (August 13, 2005)
If there were any doubts Neville would
struggle to adjust to life after Old Trafford, they were banished in
his first Everton game. Everton may have lost 2-0 but he was
Season-changing tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo (October 25, 2008)
Everton were in the doldrums when they
faced his old side, and losing 1-0, but a thundering challenge on
Ronaldo (below) altered the course of the game – Everton drew 1-1 – and sparked a
run that carried them to fifth.