Gary Neville is optimistic the Premier League will vote to restart the season in the near future, but he expects more players to drop out.

The United Kingdom government has given Premier League teams the green light for "close-contact" and "competitive" training amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Following that advice, top-flight teams, who are already training in small groups while following social distancing measures, will vote on Wednesday over whether they will proceed to contact training, representing phase two of Project Restart.

Former Manchester United captain Neville is glad a return to action is on the horizon, but he feels more stars will follow the lead of Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante and Watford forward Troy Deeney, who have opted not to train for personal reasons.

"I think the clubs will unanimously vote to restart the season in the next few weeks," Neville said to Sky Sports.

"I think there will be a few more players who drop out. I don't think it helps that the Premier League are relying on government advice and we are all watching what's going on with the government at this moment in time.

"The Watford situation seems to have the most focus at this moment but Kante missing for Chelsea is an absolutely huge blow for them from a football point of view, but you completely understand it from a personal point of view.

"That situation seems to have been accepted more than the Watford situation because there is this doubt, this lingering doubt, that the clubs at the bottom are trying to exploit the situation."

Neville added: "Everyone's saying it, the bottom six will be thinking, what's the upside for us? They really will. They'd much prefer null and void but that doesn't seem the scenario right now.

"Every single scenario has to get played out. They have to manage everything because you don't know [what might happen].

"If a load of players go down with coronavirus from a couple of teams, you have to then play out that situation - what if they can't fulfil the fixtures?

"At least they're doing it and fingers crossed, we can get football back on the menu very soon.

"I think relegation will happen and points-per-game will come into play if clubs for any reason can't compete the season."

Gary Neville replied to Jurgen Klopp's good-natured jibe that the former Manchester United defender "has an opinion on everything" in an equally light-hearted manner.

Red Devils legend Neville has been particularly vocal during the coronavirus pandemic and cast doubt over the Premier League's 'Project Restart' plans to resume the top flight in June.

Klopp's table-topping Liverpool were leading Manchester City by 25 points prior to the enforced hiatus and the German was asked about life in lockdown during an interview with BBC Football Focus.

The amiable German could not help but deliver a cheeky jibe at Neville.

"I didn't learn a lot during lockdown except Gary Neville has an opinion on absolutely everything. It's incredible!" Klopp said with a laugh.

"So no, I didn't learn a lot but I have known myself for 52 years.

"I know I can deal with difficult situations before and this is a difficult situation not only for me and my family but for everybody on this planet. I am quite proud of how we as a society are dealing with it.  

"We as human beings are not perfect so we make mistakes but I think we have understood a lot more of how we are all connected to each other. That is something good."

Neville clearly saw the funny side and, after being tagged into a story carrying the comments, replied on Twitter to say: "Delighted he's been listening!!"

Klopp also spoke about his socially distant chance encounter with Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.

"Four-and-a-half years I lived in the town and never met him," Klopp added. "I knew where he lives, I live in the house he built and Brendan Rodgers bought and we rent but it had never happened.

"I saw him for sure, walking with his kids and missus. We always keep distant, yeah. But it was nice. I admired him as a player and met him as a guy here and he is a great guy so it was great to see him."

Gary Neville has admitted he may have been "a little bit crass" when claiming Carlos Tevez "downed tools" in the final months of the Argentinian's Manchester United career.

Former United defender Neville made the accusation earlier this week, sparking a stinging riposte from Tevez's representative Kia Joorabchian.

Neville stands by the crux of his argument, which was that Tevez's contribution and his engagement dropped off towards the end of the 2008-09 season.

But his comments were challenged in a lively head-to-head with Joorabchian on Sky Sports News, causing Neville to accept his verdict could have been better put.

"What I would say is, 'down tools' might be a little bit crass," Neville said on Friday.

"But Carlos was distracted, he was different, and he certainly wasn't anywhere near the level in that last four months at the club, you must accept that?"

Joorabchian said Neville had been "absolutely wrong" with his initial assessment.

"I often let things go," Joorabchian said. "But I think that when you go after somebody and you have made a lot of wrong and incorrect statements, then by letting it go will not do the benefit to the public of listening to fake information."

Joorabchian questioned how Neville - now a Sky Sports pundit - had gained such insight that he could possibly know, as he had claimed, that Tevez had people "in his ear" during his second year at Old Trafford.

And broadening his defence of Tevez, Joorabchian asked whether Neville was casting aspersions on former United boss Alex Ferguson's leadership.

"By Gary making those comments of the second year, he's in some way questioning whether Sir Alex had his finger to the pulse," Joorabchian said.

"Because Sir Alex picked Carlos 51 times during that season of 2008-2009 - 51 times. He picked [Wayne] Rooney 49 times, [Dimitar] Berbatov 44 times, and Gary himself only played 29 in that season.

"In those moments Carlos played 51 games picked by Sir Alex: 15 goals, seven assists. Berbatov: 14 goals, 11 assists. And Rooney: 20 goals, 13 assists.

"Sir Alex would not have picked someone 51 times during that season, as Gary well knows, if they were down-tooling or being unprofessional, unless Gary thinks that Sir Alex took his eye off the ball."

Neville was given the chance to justify his remarks and largely stayed true to his original script, saying there was "no doubt" Tevez lost focus when it became known he would be leaving United.

At the end of that 2008-09 campaign, Tevez made the rare switch of leaving United to join neighbours Manchester City.

Neville said Tevez at United "went into more of a sulky mood because he was disappointed the club weren't signing him", and produced his own statistics, looking at Tevez's modest Premier League contribution.

According to Neville: "The drop in his manner and his performances - just because maybe he was not being taken on by the club - was alarming."

Gary Neville has slammed Carlos Tevez for his behaviour and professionalism towards the end of his second season at Manchester United, adding he "couldn't stand" it.

Tevez won two Premier League titles in as many seasons with United between 2007 and 2009, as well as the Champions League.

He acrimoniously left the club for rivals Manchester City after his two-year loan stint at Old Trafford came to an end.

While many United fans were angry at the Argentine for joining City, it was his deteriorating attitude after a stellar debut campaign at United that irritated Neville.

"What annoyed me about Tevez was that he downed tools in his second season," former United captain Neville told Sky Sports.

"He started sitting on the treatment table, started coming out late for training, started messing around.

"He was playing the club and I couldn't stand that, particularly being how I was at the time, which was a ferocious Manchester United person who never thought of anything else in my life.

"I understood that he had circumstances, but his people were in his ear all the time and he was so led by his people. It was always going to come to an end like it did.

"I felt disappointed that, as a professional, he didn't act the right way.

"The problem that I had with Tevez wasn't that he went to play for Manchester City. That wasn't the main issue for me. It was the way it played out in those last few months. I didn't like it."

Cristiano Ronaldo, who also departed at the end of the 2008-09 season, was an example of a player who left United in the right way, according to Neville.

"I never had a problem with people leaving the club," he said. "David Beckham left the club, Cristiano Ronaldo left the club, Ruud van Nistelrooy left the club. Great, great players.

"But there was a way to leave the club and the way to behave while you're there."

Neville was keen to stress he was an admirer of Tevez's ability, as he formed a devastating front three with Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

He added: "Let's be clear here, Tevez, for a year, with Ronaldo and Rooney, was just breathtaking.

"It was out of this world, not just because of the quality of the players, but because there was a real selfish, horrible, nasty determination to those three.

"Ronaldo in a different way on the pitch, in the sense that he wouldn't go around kicking people, hassling people and hustling.

"He was just immense in terms of his performance levels. But Rooney and Tevez were street fighters, with unbelievable ability. 

"We talk about the best front threes in the Premier League - you'll never beat those three for me."

Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes have the ability to forge an "amazing" midfield partnership at Manchester United if they are willing to "compromise", says Gary Neville.

Portugal midfielder Fernandes was an instant hit at United after finally arriving in a deal worth up to £67.6million (€80m) in January before the coronavirus pandemic brought a halt to his momentum.

Fernandes scored three goals and assisted four in nine matches across all competitions but is yet to team up with Pogba, who has not featured since December due initially to an ankle injury and latterly the suspension of the Premier League due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The Red Devils were in good form prior to the enforced hiatus, having put together an 11-match unbeaten run, and former United defender Neville has high hopes for a Pogba and Fernandes double act.

Answering a question regarding the two in a Twitter Q and A, Neville replied: "They could be amazing together if they compromise and work to help each other."

Neville also tipped Pogba as the most likely United player to one day win a Ballon d'Or before turning attentions to questions about the club's transfer policy.

Asked about his perceived view in regards to the financial clout the club could have in the market when the sporting world begins to return to normality may result in the arrival of "mercenaries", Neville replied: "The transfer policy has changed in the last two seasons so I would hope not."

The former England full-back also refused to name a specific player he would like to see United sign, but did add: "Not a name but I like the 20-25 year olds. The ones that have that next level in them type of signing."

 

 

 

 

 

Gary Neville has suggested the Premier League should consider playing games in European "hotspots" without coronavirus concerns, if the plan remains to finish the season.

The 2019-20 top-flight campaign has been halted since March 13 due to the global health pandemic, though the Premier League has continued to make clear its determination to complete the backlog of fixtures.

Friday will see further talks held between stakeholders over how to proceed, with reports suggesting there is hope for action to resume on the weekend commencing June 13.

Neville, however, is concerned over games going ahead in Britain safely - even behind closed doors - considering the logistical issues involved.

Instead, the former Manchester United and England defender has raised the possibility of shifting to safer locations in Europe, places that can "handle the virus" and allow football to be played.

"If the Premier League are really serious about delivering the matches that remain in a safe environment, they would move it to the two or three spots that are within three or four hours of this country that are coronavirus free," Neville said during Sky Sports' The Football Show on Friday.

"They would take the Premier League players, broadcasters and media over, quarantine for a week or two and then deliver it in an environment that has proven it can handle this virus.

"There are a couple of hotspots in Europe that haven't got coronavirus which could handle the Premier League finishing. If they were serious about it and wanted to deliver it with a safe outcome, they could do that.

"In this country, I'm not sure they can deliver it with the amount of coronavirus which is around, especially with the amount of movement of it out there and the logistic issues. I'm not sure they can deliver what they want to do."

The United Kingdom has seen over 26,000 coronavirus-related deaths during the crisis.

Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and David Beckham. The names are synonymous with Manchester United but the iconic 'Class of 92' sextet are behind the rise of League Two outfit Salford City.

All eyes have been on previously unheralded Salford since the former United stars completed a takeover in 2014, with the help of businessman and Valencia owner Peter Lim, who is the largest single shareholder at 40 per cent. Beckham became a co-owner alongside the Neville brothers, Scholes, Giggs and Butt last year.

It has been a rapid rise for Salford - four promotions in five seasons seeing the club go from the Northern Premier League Division One North to the fourth tier of English football for the first time in the history of the 80-year-old team.

Salford are now a full-time operation, far removed from the part-time outfit purchased by the 'Class of 92' six years ago, but there is no intention of slowing down. Reaching the Championship by 2029 was the initial target, with Premier League promotion and a fairy-tale date with United the ultimate dream for the group of former Red Devils, who won the treble at Old Trafford during their illustrious careers in Manchester.

Cameron Burgess swapped Scunthorpe United for Salford on loan at the start of the 2019-20 season and the former Australia youth international, who reunited with Graham Alexander at Moor Lane, told Stats Perform: "You hear about how the club is run and the first thing you hear is ambition, success. That's what it is all about. It's not so much that we have the resources and we're this and we're that, it's just success and that's what we want and you need to help us achieve that."

"Some people expect our owners down there, almost on the training pitch everyday sort of thing," he added. "It's not like that. It's the same as every other owner, they're very hands-on with things they need to deal with. But we have a manager and assistant manager who've played in the Premier League, it's not like they don't know what they're doing. Everyone does their own jobs, it's like not David Beckham is down on the pitch taking free-kicks. They're as hands-on as they need to be from an off-field perspective."

It is an ambitious and exciting project in Salford, where the Ammies were the subject of a popular documentary, detailing their rise to prominence in 2015. And expectations are high.

"You don't have to be told [about expectations]. It's there, you can see it," Burgess said. "Previous promotions, plastered on the walls. It's all there for everyone to see. You definitely feel that pressure but it's pressure in a good way. It's everyone moving in the right direction and making sure we're successful. It's that pressure to meet expectations but in a good way… it's what you want and what you play for to be able to succeed. You feel that as soon as you walk through the door."

Salford are a club close to the hearts of the 'Class of 92'. Scholes was born in the town, Giggs was raised in nearby Swinton, while the Neville brothers grew up in neighbouring Bury.

The co-owners have overseen improvements on and off the pitch, transforming Moor Lane into a 5,100-capacity arena with four new stands, modern seating, executive boxes and corporate hospitality. But the investment has not been without criticism.

Some supporters were frustrated when the team's badge and colours were changed from tangerine and black to red and white. Salford have also been previously dubbed the non-League Manchester City for their spending. Gary Neville was embroiled in a public spat with Accrington Stanley owner Andy Holt in 2018 after being accused of "trying to steal" a Football League spot by signing Adam Rooney from Aberdeen.

"It's funny because obviously the people who criticise and say these things don't always know the full story and they don't know the reason behind things. It's all about the success. People on the pitch inside football, they probably know that a bit more, it's not that same vibe," Burgess said.

"We're sort of everyone's derby because they want to beat us and impress to show they can be the ones in our shirts. That's how it'll always be. The spotlight will always be on you, but you have to thrive on."

Salford were 10th in League Two and eight points outside the play-off positions when the season was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, vying for a fifth promotion in six years.

"It's definitely strange because we've never been in this situation before. It's like an off-season. We've been told and we're pretty confident the season will restart, so we're staying fit and keeping healthy," said Burgess, who is representing Salford in the EFL Football Manager Cup.

"At Salford, it's been pretty much business as usual. They've been great in taking away the outside noise and making sure we're just focusing on what we have to do. We've been working hard as a team on Zoom et cetera. It's keeping fit and healthy as best we can. It's been pretty enjoyable."

It has been a challenging and unusual situation for Burgess and Salford, with the squad training individually amid the COVID-19 crisis, but the former Fulham defender added: "It's been pretty interesting, especially for me. I'm one of those that if you get me out on the grass, everything flows. The competitive edge takes over, it's another world. Whereas when you're by yourself, you just have to be on it.

"We have these little Zoom sessions and challenges, but it's interesting to hear what's important. You learn a bit more because you have to know what you're doing and what makes a difference. When you're on the pitch, it doesn't really matter why you're doing it, you're just doing it cause it's going to win or get an advantage. We're doing movements on the grass you don't realise you're doing, whereas when you're by yourself, you have to keep on top of those things."

Frank Lampard said politicians "jumped the gun" by calling for footballers to act in the national interest over the coronavirus pandemic, claiming his Chelsea players were among those already preparing to play their part.

The United Kingdom's health secretary Matt Hancock used a national press briefing to urge elite footballers in England to take a pay cut, and since then Premier League players have announced the creation of a charity fund to help health services in the fight against COVID-19.

Wayne Rooney, Gary Neville and Gary Lineker all hit back at the government's decision to single out footballers in the debate over salary reductions, and Lampard echoed their comments while praising the response to the pandemic at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea agreed to let the National Health Service use the club's Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge to accommodate staff, and Lampard told Sky Sports News: "I was very proud to be manager of this club with the way Chelsea handled it. They were very quick to respond to help with the hotel.

"There's a lot more work they've been doing with the foundation, with link-ups, getting in touch with fans, with putting on tutorials from some of the academy coaches. There are a lot of people at Chelsea who have stood up with some good work.

"I think they needed some time and I think the politicians jumped the gun while things were being prepared. People behind the scenes knew that and it's unfortunate that picture got painted.

"Since then a lot of players and clubs have stood up in a good way generally. Knowing the players and how they think, that's been a very good reaction. And it's ongoing and it shouldn't stop. I think that reaction needs to continue. If there's a light at the end of this tunnel, if there are things we can all learn, it's how we give back and stick together."

Lampard also paid tribute to former Chelsea goalkeeper Peter Bonetti, who died on Sunday following a long-term illness.

Bonetti made 729 appearances for the Blues, winning the FA Cup, the European Cup Winners' Cup, and the League Cup.

Lampard said: "My memory is of watching him as a player, but also memories of meeting him and what a gentleman he was. He was working in hospitality at Chelsea when I first arrived, working upstairs.

"[He was] so friendly with everyone that came to the game. Had time for everybody, absolute gentleman and a huge loss to Chelsea and to football."

Harry Kane would fit in with Manchester United's traditions of "historical transfers", according to former captain Gary Neville.

The Red Devils are reportedly interested in signing the Tottenham striker for a fee that could be worth up to a world-record £200million, a sum that would potentially be welcome during the economic uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Although more recent reports have claimed Spurs have no desire to sell Kane to a rival club, it was the forward's own admission during an Instagram live chat that he could consider leaving to challenge for silverware that has prompted the rumours.

Neville believes that was a calculated move by Kane, a player he feels will have been disappointed by Spurs' decision to take advantage of the United Kingdom government's Job Retention Scheme and place staff on furlough.

Neville also thinks United's pursuit of Kane would make sense given their history of signing some of the biggest home-grown stars in the Premier League era.

"It fits Manchester United's historical transfers, going back to Brian Robson, Roy Keane, trying to sign Alan Shearer, Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney," he told Sky Sports News.

"They were the best or most famous English, British or Irish players in the Premier League and Manchester United tried to sign that player so it does fit with that. Just look at what Manchester United did last summer with Harry Maguire, who was one of the best players on the market.

"In terms of Kane, I did work with him for England. He's a clever lad and he's not somebody who would get caught out if he didn't want to say something. The little opening of the door that he left in that Instagram piece with Jamie [Redknapp] was probably something that had something in it.

"I also don't think Kane would have been that impressed with his club a couple of weeks ago with what they did [using the government's Job Retention Scheme and furloughing staff]. Kane is a good lad, a solid lad and he wouldn't have taken that particularly well and he's probably just poking them back. In my mind, I think he would have been warning them and saying, 'just be careful because I'm watching you and it's not something that we do'."

United have also been heavily linked with Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, who is expected to cost upwards of £100m if he decides to leave the Bundesliga club.

However, Neville does not think it would necessarily be appropriate for Premier League clubs to pursue expensive transfers at a time when there is uncertainty over their finances.

He even believes a transfer embargo should be placed on those sides that bring in wage reductions.

"These transfer discussions, whether it be Harry Kane to United for 200million or Jadon Sancho to City or United for 100million, it completely undermines the discussions the Premier League are having with the players around taking a 30 per cent pay cut," he said.

"Transfers are things the fans love, and we love players moving around, but it does seem to me to be awry when we've got such a behind-the-scenes war going on with respect to players taking cuts, the clubs needing support, and then in the next breath you've got a £200million transfer speculation going on.

"That doesn't feel right to me. Premier League clubs can't stop the speculation, but there's no smoke without fire. I would suggest the Premier League to stop this would probably put a transfer embargo in place on all clubs that are looking to reduce their players' wages.

"That would take away a lot of the angst that is existing among the players behind the scenes who feel they're having the wool pulled over their eyes by the clubs."

Roy Keane believes the brilliance and unselfishness of striking quartet Andy Cole, Teddy Sheringham, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Dwight Yorke made Manchester United "really lucky" to have them.

Reflecting on United's treble success in 1999 and the three consecutive Premier League titles secured up to 2001, Keane and former team-mate Gary Neville hailed the club's strikeforce.

Current manager Solskjaer and Sheringham, who both scored in the Champions League final win over Bayern Munich, were integral rotation pieces who complemented the famed Yorke and Cole partnership.

Keane felt the personalities of that group were crucial in making it work at a time when, despite their quality, none of the four players were starting every week.

"We were really lucky with the four strikers we had at that time, Yorkie, Coley, Ole and Teddy - brilliant players," Keane said to Sky Sports.

"I always try make the point to remind people they were very good lads in the dressing room. People talk about strikers being selfish, they have to be, but I found all of these lads to be decent lads.

"They looked at the bigger picture, they had to bide their time as the manager rotated the squad.

"We were one of the first to rotate the squad throughout the competitions. The players made it work, they were professionals and when they got the opportunity they went out and did the business."

Asked who the best combination was, Keane added: "I don't like these conversations, I really don't, it's really unfair."

Neville, meanwhile, felt the partnership between Yorke and Cole could not have been replicated by other world-class strikers.

He said: "The thing about that partnership is that neither minded who scored.

"That is something you wouldn't have seen with partnerships involving Ruud van Nistelrooy and Michael Owen, who had to score to be happy.

"Yorke and Cole didn't hit it off from the start, it took 10 to 15 games from memory.

"Leicester away sticks in my mind, something just happened that day and after that they started socialising together, getting on off the pitch and a respect between each other developed.

"We knew Yorke was a good player from Aston Villa, but I don't think anybody realised how good a player he was, he surprised us when he came into the team."

Gary Neville believes it is too soon for the Football Association, Premier League and English Football League to consider playing matches behind closed doors in order to restart the season.

On Thursday, the Premier League and EFL confirmed there would be no professional matches played until at least April 30 as the United Kingdom continues its attempts to slow the spread of coronavirus.

All games in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are currently postponed, with the FA having agreed to extend the current season beyond June 30 if it is necessary. 

Some matches in Europe were played behind closed doors prior to the widespread postponement of leagues across the continent.

But former Manchester United defender Neville does not believe putting on games without fans in attendance is the best course of action at this stage.

"There are a lot of things to happen before we contemplate behind closed doors," Neville told BBC Radio 5Live.

"I said no on this about three or four weeks ago because I felt that it takes away from the essence of football.

"I also felt that EFL clubs and non-league clubs would suffer too much from the revenue loss and it would put them under.

"At the moment, the behind closed doors idea has got to come only after the health priority.

"Will fans turn up outside the stadium? Will fans congregate outside the stadium if their team can get promoted or get relegated, or if they can get into Europe?

"How are we going to stop that? How are the police going to man it? How are they health services going to react to incidents that happen off the back of it and do we need to put any more pressure on the services at this point in time?

"However, if those fears could be overcome somewhere down the line within this 12-week period then [behind closed doors games] could be the case."

Neville last week confirmed the two Manchester hotels he co-owns with Ryan Giggs would be open free of charge to health workers during the crisis.

There have been over 5,600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Britain, with 285 people losing their lives to the virus so far.

Gary Neville has no problem with the top competitions squeezing in as many matches as possible after the coronavirus pandemic and feels it would create a joyous "festival of football".

Euro 2020 has been postponed for one year and the Premier League has been suspended until April 30 at the earliest amid the spread of COVID-19.

Huge debate has surrounded how the season can be finished and what the impact will be on the following campaign.

But a packed stint of fixtures could ensure 2019-20 is wrapped up promptly and former Manchester United captain Neville feels a period of constant matches would bring people together.

"If players need to play every day for nine days to finish the Premier League as a worst-case scenario, they would do it because they'd get their heads around it and make it a festival of football,” he said to Sky Sports.

"It would be something spectacular. Football can bring some hope and joy to the country when we finally come out of this crisis.

"Doing a festival of football where the league is finished in two weeks, the Champions League gets finished in a week and the FA Cup is finished in four days could be something quite special.

"I'm not saying they are the examples that should be followed, but there could be something quite spectacular about football fans coming together after this crisis is over.

"It would bring some joy back to the nation as football does impact so many people.

"It is possible over a six or an eight-week period that there might be four games a week. It's a global crisis and football has to react and compromise."

Neville, who won praise this week for providing two hotels he owns with Ryan Giggs to NHS staff free of charge, feels players should have no issues with an intense fixture schedule under the circumstances.

"I'm not concerned about squeezing more games in,” he said. "Players, clubs, managers and physios will understand that you can't complain about fixture congestion next season due to the circumstances. 

"I think footballers, the authorities, the associations will want to play as many matches as psychically possible in a week, a month or a three-month period to get everything back on track.

"If you think about the Christmas period, clubs play four games in eight days. 

"When we were going to win the Premier League with Manchester United we had a backlog of fixtures due to FA Cup and we played four games in a week.”

Manchester United great Gary Neville has announced the two hotels he owns in partnership with Ryan Giggs will accommodate NHS staff free of charge during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hotel Football and Stock Exchange hotels in Manchester will be closed to the public from this weekend, Neville said, but staff will be retained and will continue to be paid as they instead cater for the needs of doctors, nurses and other medical staff.

Neville said: "In the last week we've been in consultation with the health services in the Greater Manchester area, particularly the Manchester University National Health Service's Foundation Trust [MFT NHS], and our 176 beds will be occupied by NHS workers and medical professional from Friday onwards.

"It's at this moment in time the whole of our [hospitality] industry needs to show solidarity, not just with our staff in these uncertain times but for obviously the people who need the accommodation most in the coming months, and it's something that we're delighted to have been able to have come to agreement with.

"It'll be free of charge, our staff will operate the hotels as normal, and the health workers will be allowed to stay there without any cost whatsoever in these next few months when they need isolation away from family members who may be affected by what's going on."

In a video posted on Twitter, Neville said it was important the hotel staff continue to be paid and insisted there would be no redundancies or suggestions of unpaid leave, adding that he hoped the business could "grow out of this stronger".

Neville and Giggs were members of United's famed 'Class of 92', the generation that flourished under Alex Ferguson's guidance, winning multiple Premier League titles and landing a treble in 1999 that included a famous Champions League triumph.

Alongside his business interests, Giggs is now manager of the Wales national team.

Andy Burnham, the Labour mayor of Greater Manchester, praised the commitment announced by Neville.

Burnham said it was "great leadership" and tweeted: "This is exactly the spirit that will get us through this."

The MFT NHS wrote: "HUGE THANKS to Gary Neville @GNev2 and the team @GG_Hospitality for this incredible gesture for our hardworking #NHSSTAFF who are working around the clock to provide care for our communities."

Paul Pogba is eager to leave Manchester United as he looks to compete in the Champions League, according to his brother Mathias.

Pogba has been at the centre of much speculation over the course of the season, with his United future up in the air since saying he wanted a new challenge in June.

The World Cup winner has been out of action since December due to an ankle injury and has made just seven Premier League appearances this term.

On Monday, prior to United's 2-0 win over Chelsea, Pogba's representative Mino Raiola let rip at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on social media, with the agent then reiterating his stance on Tuesday in an interview with talkSPORT.

Pogba's older brother Mathias has revealed his sibling wants to bring an end to his stay at United, who he re-joined from Juventus for a club-record fee of £89million (€105m) in 2016.

"Everyone knows that Paul wants to leave Manchester United, he wants to play Champions League football and win titles," the 29-year-old – now playing for Spanish minnows Lorca – told El Chiringuito.

"We all know that won't happen at United. We will see what happens this summer."

Despite the friction over Pogba's situation, Raiola insisted on Tuesday there are no issues between himself and United.

"There's no division between me and Manchester United. Ole already snapped out at me two times but that's onto him," the Dutchman told talkSPORT.

Raiola also hit out at Gary Neville in the interview, after the Sky Sports pundit and former United player suggested the club should no longer do business with the agent, who also represents stars such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Matthijs de Ligt.

"Gary Neville has such a big know-how of football that I'm surprised that his Salford City are not in the Premier League already," Raiola said.

"He should be on the board of directors at United and maybe ask them for a job. I don't care what Gary Neville says."

Paul Pogba's agent Mino Raiola fired back at Manchester United great Gary Neville on Wednesday and once again blasted Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for his "out of line" comments.

Raiola let rip at Solskjaer on social media moments before United's Premier League clash at Chelsea kicked off on Monday, a 2-0 win for the Norwegian's men which Pogba once again missed with his ongoing ankle problem.

The agent was livid with Solskjaer's pre-match assertion that "Paul is our player, not Mino's", with Raiola suggesting the under-pressure United boss should be worrying about things other than Pogba.

Sky Sports pundit Neville, who made 602 appearances for United during his career and is now a part-owner of League Two team Salford City, responded by saying his former club should no longer do business with Raiola.

Speaking on talkSPORT on Wednesday, Raiola said: "Gary Neville has such a big know-how of football that I'm surprised that his Salford City are not in the Premier League already.

"He should be on the board of directors at United and maybe ask them for a job. I don't care what Gary Neville says."

Raiola claimed Solskjaer misinterpreted an interview he conducted in Italy in which he was asked whether former Juventus midfielder Pogba would like a return to the country.

However, the agent stressed his assertion that "Italy is like home" for Pogba was merely his own personal point of view.

"I thought what Solskjaer said was out of line because he took part of sentences of an interview of mine and acted a little bit offended about it - that I was offering Paul Pogba to other clubs without permission whatsoever," Raiola added.

"If you read the whole interview, I was asked if Paul would fancy Italy and I said, 'Well, Italy is a second home'. But that's not the case now, he's concentrated on Manchester United, on getting back in the team as soon as possible and to make a great end to the season'.

"I've never said he's my [player].

"I've been asked if he would like Italy and I'm only answering as Mino Raiola."

Raiola went on to add: "There's no division between me and Manchester United.

"Ole already snapped out at me two times but that's onto him.

"It can be my opinion, that his comments about an article - that actually says that Paul is committed to Manchester United until the European Championship, and that is his only focus for now - was taken out of context, and [Solskjaer] should have read the whole thing."

France international Pogba, who returned to Old Trafford in a record deal from Juventus in 2016, has not played for Solskjaer's side since December and both Neville and his former United team-mate Roy Keane said they expected him to leave the club after this season.

For his own part, Raiola offered no long-term assurances beyond this campaign.

"He is committed to Manchester United, only to Manchester United, and to the European Championship for this year. After that, we will take to the club if necessary," Raiola added of Pogba.

"That is what I said in Italy and that is what I'm saying here."

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