‘He was a cricketing genius. If he had carried on playing he could have been England’s Sachin Tendulkar’: Andrew Flintoff believes Phil Neville could have been a cricket great if he had rejected Manchester United to join Lancashire
- Andrew Flintoff and Phil Neville played together for Lancashire in their youth
- Neville then turned down a cricket career for one with Man United and England
- But Flintoff believes he could have been England’s answer to Sachin Tendulkar
Former England cricket star Andrew Flintoff believes England lost out on cricketing genius when Phil Neville chose a football career instead.
The current England women’s football coach played alongside former all-rounder Flintoff for Lancashire’s age-group sides, and also went on to make an appearance for their second XI.
But Neville then turned his focus towards football, and after breaking through at Manchester United’s academy, went on to win six Premier League titles alongside brother Gary, as well as numerous other trophies including the Champions League in United’s treble-winning season of 1998-99.
Andrew Flintoff believes Phil Neville could have gone on to become a cricketing great
Flintoff played alongside the former Man United player in Lancashire’s age-group sides
But Flintoff believes former England international Phil could have reached the heights of cricket’s great names of the past had he chosen to follow his love for cricket.
‘He [Phil Neville] was a year older than me and he was a cricketing genius,’ Flintoff told talkSPORT.
‘This is a big call, but if he had carried on playing cricket he could have been England’s Ricky Ponting or Sachin Tendulkar. He was that good.
‘He used to turn up, open the batting and score a hundred every time he batted, and then he’d bowl everyone out.
And Flintoff believes Phil could have gone on to reach the heights of Sachin Tendulkar
‘He was a quick bowler and he got offered a contract at Lancashire – I think £2,500 was the wage – or go play at United.
‘Luckily he went to United otherwise I might have ended up at Derbyshire or something.’
Phil’s brother Gary is also an avid cricket fan and has a unique sporting century to his name.
As a 17-year-old in 1992, Neville finished 110 not out alongside Australian opener Matthew Hayden (140 not out) to guide Greenmount to a place in the Bolton League’s Hamer Cup final.
Gary Neville is also an avid cricket fan and even made a century alongside Matthew Hayden
But Flintoff added that he does not believe that Gary would have gone on to play at higher levels and maintains that younger brother Phil was the more talented.
‘If you listen to Gary, Gary was the best cricketer that every walked the earth,’ Flintoff continued.
‘He’d have made a good club cricketer at Bolton. But Phil was the one who was amazing, and he was such a good lad as well.’
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