Former Manchester United, Everton and England footballer Phil Neville has revealed that turning down a career in cricket was the hardest decision of his life.
Neville was considered to be one of the brightest prospects in the game when he was captain of the England Under-15s team, but he chose to follow the bright lights of professional football, a decision that more than paid off.
However, Neville - who won 59 caps for his country - told ecb.co.uk: “It was the biggest and hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, cricket was my first love and I enjoyed it more than football at the time but I couldn’t dedicate enough time to both sports and you need to be fully committed, so I chose football at the time, and it’s worked out okay.
“I still watch every ball that England bowl and bat and I’m a massive fan of the England cricket team.”
He added: “My best memories as a schoolboy were playing cricket. Social cricket is such a fantastic sport to play; you spend eight or nine hours in a dressing room with team-mates and make special friendships and bonds.
“I learnt so much from cricket that stood me in good stead for playing football.”
Following a trip to Emirates Old Trafford to watch England take on India in the fourth Investec Test, Neville suggested that he would be open to any offers of donning the whites once again.
“I will play cricket, hopefully I’ll have a few invites to play and I can pull on my whites again because I do love playing cricket," he added.
"I played my last game here at this stadium for Lancashire seconds so I have wonderful memories.”
The former defender was part of United's famous ‘Class of 92’, and said he could see similarities between themselves and the current England side.
He said: “When I broke into the first team at Man United a lot was made of the young players that came through, but we wouldn’t have won anything if it wasn’t for the likes of Steve Bruce, Peter Schmeichel, (Roy) Keane, (Gary) Pallister, Dennis Irwin etc because the senior players are so important.”