top of page

Gary Neville: Sir Alex Ferguson hesitated to make Ronaldo and Rooney United captain.

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

Gary Neville says Sir Alex Ferguson was hesitant to make Ferdinand, Ronaldo and Rooney Man United captain.

Ronaldo, Tevez and Rooney. [Getty]
Ronaldo, Tevez and Rooney. [Getty]

Gary Neville has explained why legendary Sir Alex Ferguson was unwilling to make Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney captain of Manchester United. The ex-England right-back, now Sky Sports pundit was captain at Old Trafford for five seasons when United won the Premier League three times on the bounce and the Champions League. Neville often felt he didn't deserve the role in a squad that was full of inspired and talented players, but when he spoke to his manager about what he was thinking, Ferguson gave him good reasons at to why he didn’t want several players in the squad to be captain at the time. ‘I got injured a year after taking the captaincy and that became really difficult for me,’ Neville told Sky Sports.

‘It felt as though I wasn’t contributing like a captain should be for my last four years. I actually went to see Sir Alex in pre-season about the third year I was captain. ‘We had an amazing team: Ronaldo, Rooney, [Carlos] Tevez, [Ryan] Giggs, [Paul] Scholes, [Michael] Carrick, [Rio] Ferdinand, [Nemanja] Vidic, [Patrice] Evra, [Edwin] van der Sar… there were some great personalities and players in that group. ‘I went over to Sir Alex walking onto the training pitch and said, “I don’t feel worthy of keeping the captaincy anymore. This team is to a level I can’t compete at”. And Ferguson replied: “You’ll keep that f-ing armband, son. You and Giggs will rotate it. If I give it to Ronaldo, Rooney will kick off. If I give it to Rooney, Ronaldo will kick off. If I give it to Vidic, Ferdinand won’t be happy”.

‘So literally I think me and Giggsy kept it for three or four years beyond that just purely because of the fact the camaraderie in the dressing room. We were the policemen if you like, the older statesmen. ‘Sir Alex wanted to make sure the team came first. Even though I felt unworthy as a captain at that stage.’

Read More On TFI:



bottom of page