Gary Neville becomes second person after Roy Keane to spot big problem at Man Utd


Several Manchester United players have apologised for their recent performances on social media after the struggling team slipped to sixth in the Premier League table

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Paul Pogba limps away from France training with injury

Gary Neville has again taken aim at the Manchester United squad for their “inauthentic”, “sanitised” and “vanilla” social media posts.

The Red Devils legend has previously criticised players for allegedly hiring PR executives to manage their social media accounts.

Writing in his column for The Times, Neville claimed: “There are characters inside the Manchester United dressing room that I greatly admire not just for their football abilities but their human qualities.

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“Vulnerabilities, resilience, sense of humour and all the things that make them distinct. I don’t recognise them at all when I see some of their social media posts.

“I see vanilla, sanitised messages. I read apologies that don’t come over sincerely to me or any United fan.

Should players apologise to supporters on social media? Let us know in the comments below!

Gary Neville wants Manchester United players to be honest on social media



“I see half the dressing room posting almost identically-worded tweets like they are reading off a script. And not just at United.

“Some of these tweets and posts are diversion tactics. You feel manipulated reading them and this is meant to be football, not some [Vladimir] Putin-esque plot to control the narrative.

“It takes character to succeed at United or any top team. I want to see that character, but it is being lost to PR messaging, scripted words and corporate-speak.”

Several Man Utd players have posted apologies on social media this season, with the team suffering embarrassing home defeats to rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.

After the latter game, captain Harry Maguire tweeted: “As a group of players we are going through a tough period. We know and accept this is nowhere near good enough.

“We feel your frustration and disappointment, we are doing everything we can to put things right and we will put things right. Thanks for your support.”

Neville’s annoyance with messages such as these came after seeing a podcast clip from Phil Lynch, the CEO of media at Man Utd, discussing the players’ social media strategy.

In the clip, Lynch reveals: “Each one of these players are individuals, some want charity focus, some want family focus, some want just football focus.

“And I think it’s really trying to understand what narrative they want to tell and then we’re here to help support that narrative…

“We pull twice a day social media fan sentiment graphs for every single one of our players and we have certain thresholds that alert us when we see fan sentiment going one way – whether that be a personal issue, whether that be an on pitch performance issue.

Harry Maguire used Instagram to appease the fans after Man Utd’s defeat to City



“And when that happens we start to work with the player and his team individually to counter that narrative a little bit.”

Neville shared the clip with his 4.8million Twitter followers and commented: “Creating robots on and off the pitch! Get the f*** away from them [the players].

“It’s a football club. He makes controlling fans sound like he’s trying to win a general election!”

And Neville isn’t the first Man Utd legend to slam players for posting PR-manufactured messages on social media to boost their profile with supporters.

Speaking ahead of the team’s 3-0 win against Tottenham, Roy Keane said: “There was a lot of talk coming out this week, a lot of rubbish from players, apologies left right and centre.

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“It’s no good. It’s all rubbish, all that kind of nonsense coming out from players and team [Marcus] Rashford and Maguire.

“[Bruno] Fernandes a few weeks ago when he missed a penalty against Villa. Just turn up and give everything you’ve got for the club…

“I heard Maguire talking during the week. He was like a robot. He was like, ‘Apologies to the fans…’ There was no emotion behind it.”

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