The former Man Utd defender admitted that he persuaded the club to try to sign the Portuguese as he knows him from his time at Valencia.
did not pay attention to his advice regarding signing
despite there being a lack of movement on the transfer front that allowedManchester City
to snap the versatile Portuguese up for a fee of £60 million ($81m).
The player attracted Neville’s attention when he was briefly in charge of Valencia in the 2015-16 season and he has shown off his true potential for everyone to see.
United were recommended to make a move, but Cancelo finally joined Juventus in 2018 before going to City a year later – where he has established himself as a crucial player under the reign of
In his podcast for
, Neville explained why he thought Cancelo would have been a shrewd recruitment for Manchester United: “I had him as a very young player at Valencia but you could just see exceptional talent.
“I made calls back to England, you could imagine to which club I’m talking about, [saying], ‘if you’d ever take a young player, he’s one you’d take’.
“Him and Andre Gomes, I felt, were exceptional talents that could come and grace the Premier League. Andre has had bad injuries which stopped him.
“But I think the education Joao Cancelo had in Italy would have been a good one for him. I think Italy toughens you up from a defensive perspective being at Juventus.
“When City paid £60m for him the only doubt I had was the fact did City need to spend £60m on a full-back again because they already had players in those positions. Not any doubt whatsoever about what this player was.
“He’s an athletic machine. He’s a brilliant runner, he’s a beautiful runner with the ball, he’s a tough kid as well. He’s strong, he’s brave in his defending, he affects the game in defence and attack. He’s delivering on what I thought he would in terms of you see players sometimes not realising their potential, he is realising his potential. I couldn’t be happier for him as a person.”
Cancelo, however, has to fight for a place at City and Guardiola snapped him up for depth in full-back berths. He then proved himself capable of playing in midfield, while also contributing a lot of assists.
The 27-year-old has met the back of the net twice in 17 appearances this season, whereas he also provided five assists, with three of them coming in their Champions League clash against Club Brugge recently.
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