Gary Neville Says He Was "Relieved" When David Beckham Left Manchester United

"That little bit of an underlying thing that was there had gone"

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Though the glory years of Manchester United's Class of 92 are remembered warmly by the fans, it can't have been easy playing in the shadow of Golden Balls at Old Trafford.

In an interview about his time at the club and relationship with other players, Gary Neville has admitted that although difficult to see Beckham go, there was a sense of relief due to a slight tension between them.

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"I knew it was coming to an end a little bit from the previous 12 months," Neville said speaking to Jonathan Shrager for StrettyNewsTV. "I was aware of the things that were going on behind the scenes."

He added, "I was disappointed when he left but I was also disappointed when Nicky Butt left. I was disappointed when my brother left, I was disappointed when Roy Keane left and I was disappointed when Denis Irwin left. They were a massive part of our lives and our careers at United.

"It wasn't just the lads around me - David, Phil and Nicky and such like. When a player of that magnitude left there was a void. They're a big miss."

Neville then spoke candidly about his feelings at the time, saying: "To be honest with you, at the time 'sad' probably wasn't the right word [to describe how I felt about Beckham's departure. I was probably relieved a little bit. For him, for the club - it could never end badly, that relationship. David had done so much for the club and the club had done so much for David."

"He always harboured this hope of playing abroad, I think, and playing in European football. Looking at what he's done in his career now: playing at Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan, Manchester United, LA Galaxy... it's a great career."

"His time had probably come at United where he was right to leave. There was a bit of me that was relieved that that tension, that little bit of an underlying thing that was there had gone. He was a brilliant player and I loved playing with him."

Of course, Beckham's too busy parading his new locks around the internet to reply right now, but we imagine he won't be too miffed by what his former teammate has said.

Watch the full interview below.