Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes ready for Manchester United coaching roles, hints Sir Alex Ferguson

By Sportsmail Reporter

Sir Alex Ferguson has cited Gary Neville's mental fortitude as the major reason he is still going strong - and hinted he will find a role for the full-back and fellow old stagers Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs when they finally decide to hang up their boots.  

Neville has signed a new one-year contract, committing himself to another season at his only professional club. 

Red blood: Manchester United legend Gary Neville is nearing the end of his career

It follows on from similar announcements concerning Giggs and Scholes in recent weeks, while Edwin van der Sar has also agreed a deal that will take him past his 40th birthday. 

Neville's contract might have taken the longest amount of time to resolve, but is also the most surprising.  

Two years ago, the veteran full-back was completing a second barren season, during which time he had made just a single appearance.  

As he tries to resolve a date - and opposition - for a testimonial match that is supposed to be played this summer, Neville's recovery from a broken ankle, followed by a series of muscular problems, has gone so well he is even being talked of as an outsider for Fabio Capello's World Cup squad.  

It is a staggering achievement, and one Ferguson feared Neville would never be able to complete.  

'We worried about him coming back,' said the United boss. 'When you are out for 18 months in your mid-30s it is a concern.  


'You don't worry about Gary Neville's commitment and his endeavours to get back from injury. He is more determined than any of us. But any physio will tell you when you get injuries at 32 and 33 and you are out for 18 months, it is serious.'

Neville was influenced by the presence of Bryan Robson, Steve Bruce and Roy Keane in the United dressing room when he was breaking onto the first-team scene. 

Not as naturally gifted as either Giggs or Scholes, Neville has made the absolute maximum of not inconsiderable talent. 

Although injury deprived him of a couple of league titles, and a European Cup, Neville still has a huge haul of medals in his collection, in addition to 85 England caps - a record for a right-back.  

And Ferguson insists he still has a meaningful role to play at United, whether Capello finds him a place on the plane to South Africa or not.  

Inspiration: The example of Ryan Giggs could provide United with a new generation of players, says Ferguson

'You could keep a player with great experience and not play him of course but I don't think Gary would enjoy that,' said the United boss. 'The man is doing it because he has the will to do it. 

'He has the determination and drive within himself not to give in, now he is getting the rewards. His performance level has been outstanding at an important time for the club.'

Yet, just like Ferguson himself, the time is drawing inexorably closer when Neville must find an alternative career.

Ferguson has already found a place on his staff for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who steered the United reserve team to the Premier League (North) title this season.  And although they are very different personalities, Ferguson feels Giggs, Scholes and Neville have such a presence on the training ground they could all make a meaningful contribution.  

'They are all taking their coaching badges, which I am delighted at, and we will assess, when the time comes, what part they can play at Manchester United,' said Ferguson.  

'You cannot lightly dismiss their careers here or what they can contribute in the future. They could be invaluable to the development of young players at this club.  

'Coaches need to have patience, a good imagination and organisational ability. But players also need to know the history of their club and anyone coming through the academy at Manchester United would understand exactly who they were.  

'It is okay if you are brought up as a supporter. But we bring young players in from different parts of the country. Charlton, Law and Best were from a different era. In the case of Neville, Scholes and Giggs anyone growing up in Britain over the last 20 years will know all about them.'

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