Ex-Utd player on when he finally became a true Blue.
Everton captain Phil Neville has admitted that it took him 18 months before he was fully accepted by the Toffees faithful.
The two clubs meet in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday and the former United player recalls exactly the moment that he feels is club’s supporters took him to heart.
It was a top-flight fixture against United at Goodison Park in 2008 when Neville launched into a two-footed tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo that sent the home crowd into raptures.
“I think that was my defining moment,” Neville said in the Daily Mail.
“It totally changed my Everton career. From that moment on, I felt as if they accepted me as captain, as an Evertonian. Up until then, win and, yeah, it was fine. Lose and I always got “Manc”. I was always the Manc. After that I was Phil Neville, the captain of Everton.
“When was that?’ he asks and seems surprised that it was actually three years after he joined the club. ‘My first season at Everton [2005-06] was without a doubt the toughest I’ve had.
“There were times when I wondered whether I had made the right decision. It was probably because I didn’t feel I was being accepted. I had to be really tough to battle through those times, with my team-mates more than the fans really.
“Because of the way I am – I get into training early, I go into the gym – I had to try to convince them that was me, that I wasn’t just trying to impress, trying to be the teacher’s pet. That was just the way I worked.”