Neville will never go blue
Former Red Devil rules out the prospect of ever turning out for City
Last Updated: 19/11/09 9:44pm
Neville: Once a red, always a red
Phil Neville insists he could never desert his red roots if the opportunity ever arose to join Manchester City.
The Everton skipper is a product of the famed Manchester United youth academy and made the grade at Old Trafford alongside the likes of Paul Scholes, David Beckham and his brother Gary.
He made the difficult decision to turn his back on the Red Devils in 2005, with Everton offering him the opportunity of regular first-team football.
Since then he has been forced to watch from afar as United have continued to dominate English football and their cross-city neighbours have enjoyed a recent reversal in fortunes.
City now have money to burn - and have gone about building a squad expected to challenge for a top four finish this season - but for all their wealth, Neville is adamant that he could never bring himself to represent the blue half of Manchester.
He said: "Joining City is not something that will ever happen. When you have got red blood you cannot see yourself with blue blood.
"You go there and they have blue ketchup... it's just like 'What are they doing?'.
"I am not being disrespectful to City. I grew up a red, hating Manchester City. When I go back with Everton I get absolutely slaughtered.
"It makes me laugh in a way because I understand what they are feeling. I think it is fantastic as it makes football special."
Neville is hoping to make his long-awaited return from a troublesome knee injury at Old Trafford this Saturday, but the versatile 32-year-old admits he may struggle to persuade David Moyes that he is ready to face his former employers.
He added: "It was nine weeks ago on Sunday when the surgeon told me I would be out for 12 weeks.
"Then I looked at the calendar and saw it was ten weeks until United and felt it was fate calling. I thought that would be my comeback game.
"But as the time has got closer and closer... (I) have still got to overcome so many obstacles.
"I have managed to start running, kick a ball, twist and turn. But if you are not tackling four days before a Manchester United game it is going to be a miracle to play on Saturday. But you never say never."