Scholes rues Neville injuries
Neville announced his retirement earlier this month after finally abandoning the quest to recover from a succession of problems, which began with a broken ankle he suffered against Bolton Wanderers in March 2007. The injury came a month after his 85th and final cap, appropriately enough at Old Trafford, in a friendly defeat by Spain.
Given he was only 32 at the time, and Ashley Cole has only just broken Kenny Sansom's previous record of 86 England appearances, it is a fair bet Neville would have gone on to become the most-capped full-back and given Cole a real target to aim at.
Instead, Neville received just one further call-up, for the FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra in June 2009, when he did not make an appearance.
And for Scholes, whose own international career ended criminally early at the age of 29 and who turned down Fabio Capello's approach to go to last summer's FIFA World Cup in South Africa, it denied England the services of their number one right-back.
"We saw the other day that Ashley Cole broke the record for the most-capped full-back," reflected Scholes. "But there is nothing more certain than if Gary had stayed fit then he would have had more than 120 caps by now. It's just a shame that his fitness wasn't right and now he has made the decision to retire."
As a fellow member of Manchester United's famed 'Class of 92', Neville and Scholes will remain in contact long after they have left Old Trafford, where Sir Alex Ferguson is still trying to persuade the latter man to remain for another season. But there is a sense of sadness now Neville is no longer a regular on the training pitch.
"I grew up with Gary," he said. "I have been very close to him over the years and it's sad really. I will miss him but what a career he's had as well; over 20 years at the top, winning the trophies he has, as well as all those caps for England."