Fergie plans to retain Neville
Old Trafford manager Ferguson confirmed this morning: "We want him to stay in some capacity."
Neville, who decided to bring the curtain down on a glittering career with immediate effect earlier this week, played his last match in the 2-1 victory against West Bromwich Albion on New Year's Day when he suffered an ankle injury.
Ferguson said: "Gary will remain with the team. He will train whenever he wants. The next step forward for our club is to retain Gary in a capacity in which he will be satisfied.
"That's because I feel his contribution and what he can contribute in future years is about what we are. We are a family club and he has been part of that. He has created that family atmosphere in the dressing room time and time again over the years."
Ferguson believes Neville's last injury was the final straw. "He had this ankle injury and I think that is what really accelerated things for him," said the United manager.
"If you look at the last four years he's had nothing but injuries. The amazing thing is how he came back from his injuries time and time again. Eventually, I think getting that ankle injury in the West Brom game, he felt enough was enough."
Ferguson has indicated that Neville could help produce the next generation of young players. He said: "I do think he has a role to play as a coach, I really do, particularly with the young players.
"Gary has been a great example to the young players in the professional side of it. But on the other side, the academy, we should have that presence and coaching ability Gary has. He is taking his badges. He is ready to go into coaching and we will just find a role for him."
Neville intended to announce his retirement this weekend but then changed his mind once the UEFA Champions League squad was announced and he was omitted.
Ferguson said: "We have been discussing it a few weeks now. Gary wanted to do it on Sunday while there was an international week. Once we had given our squad for the second half of the Champions League the press were alerted to that. So Gary thought it would be best to come out now.
"He is a fantastic, incredible man. He came to us as a 13-year-old boy, an avid United fan. He has been that way all his life. He has made a great career out of a fantastic will and determination to be the best. He is an absolute legend at our club and will remain so for the rest of his life."
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce believes Neville deserves the plaudits which have come his way. He said: "He is a driven character, he is excellent in the dressing room. As a young kid he was fiercely determined to succeed, and you have to say he has had a wonderful career.
"There's this awful negativity around him unfortunately, people are too keen to jump on the bandwagon. When you step back and have a look, he has had a fantastic career, won eight or ten championships, medals galore, played 600 times for Manchester United and 85 caps for England. Fair play and well done."