Manchester United should have signed Arsenal legend Tony Adams, says Phil Neville

Tony Adams
Tony Adams’ career at Arsenal spanned three decades (Picture: Allsport)

Former Manchester United ace Phil Neville says Tony Adams is the one Arsenal player he wished Sir Alex Ferguson had signed.

The 53-year-old spent his entire career at Arsenal and won the title on four occasions in his 19-year spell with the Gunners.

Adams was entering the latter stages of his career by the time that Neville’s Manchester United started to dominate the Premier League but he was the England captain at Euro 1996.

The defender was an inspirational leader for Tony Venables’ side as they came within a whisker of reaching the final on home turf and Adams was instrumental in ending Arsenal’s seven-year wait for a title in 1998.

Ferguson was a huge admirer of Adams and tried to sign him on a number of occasions. He once proclaimed that he was a ‘Manchester United captain in an Arsenal blazer’.

Wigan Athletic v Manchester United - Premier League
Alex Ferguson once referred to Tony Adams as a ‘Manchester United captain in an Arsenal blazer’ (Picture: Getty)

But Adams stuck with the Gunners and that title win in 1998 was at the expense of Neville’s United side, with the England Women’s boss admitting he wished Adams had made the move to Old Trafford.

‘I think if i could have picked an Arsenal player to play for Manchester United I would have gone with Tony Adams,’ Neville told Premier League Productions.

‘He was the best captain I played with for England. He was just unbelievable’.

Neville was looking back on United’s 3-2 defeat to Arsenal at Highbury in 1997 alongside former Gooner Ian Wright.

It was Arsene Wenger’s first victory over Sir Alex Ferguson and it proved vital as the Gunners beat United to the title by a single point.

Neville praised Adams' leadership (Picture: Getty)
Neville praised Adams’ leadership (Picture: Getty)

Adams was a vital cog in the Gunners’ title victory and Wright says his work with young players set him apart.

‘He was always talking, especially with the young plyaers,’ said Wright.

‘Once they got into the first team- [the likes of] Ashley cole, Ray Parlour – Tony almost just had them in training to coach them. ‘don’t go here, push here’ all that, he was just brilliant.’

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