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Phil Neville leaves United for the BBC

Brought back to Old Trafford as a coach by David Moyes. Phil Neville has left the club to pursue a career in punditry.

Warren Little

The post-Moyes purge continues. Phil Neville, former Manchester United utility player, returned to Old Trafford last season as a member of David Moyes' coaching team, then survived his manager's sacking thanks to his United connections. But he today confirmed that he has left the club, and will replace the retiring Alan Hansen on the BBC's highlights program Match of the Day.

Louis van Gaal indicated in his first press conference that he would attempt to find positions for all of the so-called Class of '92 -- "[Nicky] Butt is already assisting us. [Paul] Scholes - we will find a role for him. And we also want to find a role for Phil Neville" -- but it appears that the lure of the punditry couch has proved too much for Neville. That or Van Gaal demoted him to bootboy.

Neville's punditry career began over the summer at the World Cup, though it wasn't quite as smooth an entrance into the world of football-talking as his brother. For some reason, the BBC thought it might be a good idea for him to make his co-commentary debut on England's opening game against Italy, and sure enough, complaints followed in their hundreds. "Co-commentary is harder than I thought it would be. I will get better. I'm glad I helped everybody sleep!"

Though he's not got much to worry about. After all, Alan Hansen's old chair is sat next to Alan Shearer's current one, and as such would still be more interesting even if they left it empty.