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Neville proud to win over Everton fans

18 May 2013 12:25

Phil Neville has revealed his pride at winning over "sceptical" Everton fans ahead of his final game for the club.

The 36-year-old moved to Goodison Park after leaving Manchester United in 2005 and has gone on to make 303 appearances for the Merseyside outfit.

Having also held the position of club captain since 2007, Neville says he can leave Everton with his head held high after overcoming a difficult start.

"Winning the fans over was my biggest achievement without a shadow of a doubt," he said.

"I can leave knowing I would be welcomed back like other ex-players are, I am one of them. I wouldn’t have been welcomed back with open arms after one season, because the fans were still sceptical, and I understand that – I was a bit sceptical, too."

Neville, who is yet to declare his next move, went on to explain that he did not expect to play at such a high level with Everton for so long.

"I thought I would be at Everton for one or two years, to be honest," he added. "I thought that, when you leave Manchester United, you drift away on a downward spiral.

"But I left at an age when I still had a lot left to give. It took time to develop a relationship with the Everton public and I understand why.

"But it’s fair to say they accepted me as one of their own and I like to think there’s respect between us and they appreciate what I have given to the club.

"It’s been eight wonderful years."

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