The Gary Neville brand is a strong one, with his incisive punditry and trendy move to Valencia helping him to become a hot and surprisingly exotic commodity in the Anglophone football world. Some of the slightly grubbier moments (and, let's be honest, highlights) of his playing career -- including that magnificent celebration against Liverpool -- have been conveniently airbrushed from the popular memory, completing his unlikely transformation from a snarling United full-back to a savvy businessman with the inoffensive omnipresence of an identikit European hotel chain.
It's therefore unsurprising that two games (and zero wins) into his managerial career, he's already being tipped for bigger things. Indeed, he's already been forced into denying interest in one day returning to the dugout at Old Trafford as Manchester United manager, as quoted in the Guardian:
"No, I don't see myself managing Manchester United at all," he told Sky Sports. "I know what I want to do in my life and that's not something that's in my mind.
"From my point of view, this is important for me and a valuable experience. I'm aware I need to succeed. Succeeding for me would be knowing these players have improved dramatically.
"Results come and go, I know we're in a results-driven business but I have never looked at football like that since I've finished playing. I did when I was a player. As a part-owner [at Salford], I think about moving forward in the next five, 10 years."
Of course, we refuse to believe him. He may have, for better or worse, undergone a corporatisation that has made him palatable to even Sky Sports subscribers on the Merseyside end of the East Lancs Road, but it's probably just about impossible to have spent your entire playing career as a regular for your boyhood club, winning countless medals at home and abroad and captaining them for five years, only to lose interest upon retirement. Of course, it's far too early for United to dream of hiring Neville, but he'd be a strange man if he wasn't tempted by the possibility of an eventual return.