Phil Neville to leave Everton
Everton captain Phil Neville has been tipped for a player-coach role at his next club after the defender confirmed that he will be leaving the Toffees this summer.
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Neville announced on Tuesday morning that he is to depart the Merseyside outfit - who he joined from Manchester United in 2005 - when his current deal expires at the end of the season, stressing that he will be looking to continue his playing career elsewhere.
In June, the 36-year-old will work as part of Stuart Pearce's England Under-21s backroom staff at the European Championship in Israel, having previously done so for the Young Lions' qualifier against Belgium in February 2012.
And former Everton defender Andy Hinchcliffe believes Neville may well take on some coaching duties at whichever club he plays for next.
"When he moves on, I would not be surprised if it is not all about playing for Phil," Hinchcliffe told Sky Sports News.
"He wants to play for another two or three years and if he is fit enough to do it, then great.
"But I think he will start to think about the coaching side of things, especially with him being away in the summer in Israel with England Under-21s.
"Neville, in a statement released to Press Association Sport, said: "It's been an honour to play for and captain Everton Football Club. "I've thoroughly enjoyed my time on Merseyside and will leave with immense pride.
"I would like to thank the manager, chairman, all of the staff and the players at Everton for their continued support during my time at the club.
"I'd also like to pay a special thanks to the fans, who have been amazing over the past eight years and Everton will always have a place in my heart.
"I want to continue to play at the top level as long as I physically can, and will be weighing up my options before making a decision on my next move.
"I'll now be doing everything I can to help Everton finish as high up the league table as possible."
David Moyes, Everton's manager since 2002, is also out of contract in the summer and does not intend to make a decision about a new one until the season has finished - something Hinchcliffe feels could well have figured prominently in Neville's thinking.
"It is a very uncertain summer ahead for Everton I think," Hinchcliffe said.
"David Moyes is not committed to a new contract there, so Phil maybe has had chats with him and he is not really sure what the future holds for Moyes.
"Maybe he can't really sign a contract and decide to stay at Everton if he doesn't know who the manager is going to be."
Hinchcliffe sees a Barclays Premier League club currently below sixth-placed Everton in the table as a realistic destination for Neville.
"I'm sure there are plenty of clubs in the Premier League that will look at him," Hinchcliffe said.
"Maybe he can't cover the ground that he did five or six years ago, but he has a wealth of experience and is a versatile player as well.
"He can play in central midfield or at right-back, and score the odd goal or two. But I think it would be a struggle for him to move upwards in terms of Premier League clubs - I think you are probably looking at teams that are currently below Everton in the league."
Neville, who has won 59 England caps, joined United as a trainee in 1993, made his debut for them in January 1995 and won six Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the European Cup with the Red Devils.
Following his move to Everton in August 2005, he became skipper at Goodison Park when David Weir left the club in January 2007, and he has made over 300 appearances for the Toffees. The last Premier League game he played in was against United in February.
Hinchcliffe hailed Neville's impact at Everton, saying: "He has been absolutely fantastic for that club.
"With the standards of his training, the way that he thinks about the game and the way that he performs for that club, I think he has pulled a lot of younger players along with him at Everton as well."
Ex-United striker Dwight Yorke, a former team-mate of Neville's, told Sky Sports News: "He has had an outstanding career - one to be very, very proud of.
"He does everything right, from his diet to sleeping method. Any youngster out there looking to be a professional can model themselves on Phil Neville."
Sky Bet have priced up Neville's next club, making Stoke 3/1 favourites ahead of Villa, Fulham and Wigan. A return to Manchester United is 33/1.