Gary Neville Reveals Retirement Push
Ex-Man Utd man says brush with Baines and Pienaar made him quit.
Everton's left-sided pair were a key factor in ending the career of one of England's most-capped defenders.
Manchester United captain turned Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has revealed that toiling against Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar made him realise the time had come to retire.
Neville, now also part of the England coaching team, ended his 19-year playing career in February 2011.
And after watching the Everton duo impress against Newcastle on Monday evening, he revealed it was a torrid afternoon at Goodison Park that convinced him his playing days were drawing to an end.
Neville was at right-back for United for the 3-3 draw between the two sides in September 2010 as the Blues staged a sensational comeback from 3-1 down – with their final two goals the result of crosses from the left-hand side of the pitch.
"One of the games which drove me to retirement was at this ground against Baines and Pienaar," revealed the 85-cap Neville.
"They have a brilliant understanding, they know exactly what the other is going to do. They are fantastic together. Baines has been one of the top performers in the Premier League for the last five years. It is a really strong position for England."
Neville's tactical insight has proved popular following his move to the media and he also explained one of the reasons Baines has proved such an effective attacking option.
"He is a solid pro," began Neville. "He has the overlap and the underlap in his game now and he has developed that understanding with Pienaar.
"Everton always get the ball over to the left when they can, they probe down the left and now you are seeing the top players in Europe deploying the underlap, where they drive into the box rather than going on the outside of the midfielder.
"He got the goal he deserved against Newcastle. His play was magnificent and the link with Pienaar is absolutely brilliant."