MANCHESTER UNITED legend Gary Neville was told he was a 's***' pundit by ex-team-mate Nicky Butt after making his Monday Night Football debut.

The 46-year-old began his punditry career at the start of the 2011-12 season after hanging up his boots the previous campaign.

His first game saw him oversee Manchester City's 4-0 win against Swansea at the Etihad with debutant Sergio Aguero scoring twice.

Following the match, Neville was noticeably nervous when interviewing Roberto Mancini, which led Butt to text his close friend what he thought of the exchange.

Speaking to The Athletic, the six-time Premier League winner, 46, said: "As a manager, you’ll have tough times and get crap off the press.

"I know that – and I’m fine with the media. I wasn’t when I started in my first interviews – or my first managerial speeches, but you learn.

"I remember seeing Nev on Sky Sports at first and he was s***, and I told him.

"Now he’s the best, by a mile. And you have to be prepared for questions – journalists have a job to do too.


"As you get older, you have more empathy for what others do. When I was 20, I didn’t.

"I thought journalists were t******, but then you grow up, learn more about football and the world. And the football world is still one I have a lot to offer."

Butt, who left United earlier this year after working in the club's youth set-up for nine years, believes their academy struggles to deal with competition from their rivals.

He added: "We did fall behind [our rivals], if we're honest.

"Ed [Woodward], the board and the owners did realise it and that it needed an influx of money to keep up with the other teams and we got that.

"United bought some of the top young players in Europe, like Hannibal [Mejbri]. We bought some very good full-backs from Spain.

"You could see other clubs saying, 'Man United are back on it.'

"We got stuck into thinking that every young player wanted to come to Man United and that we didn't need to work. [But] We did.

"There are other big clubs close to us who could also challenge for players. It got noticed and it changed."

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