Gary Neville claimed he told Manchester United to sign a young Joao Cancelo during his time as Valencia’s manager.

Joao Cancelo has cemented his place in world football as one of the game’s best full-backs. Despite being right-footed, one commentator suggested he is the best left-back in England during the latest Premier League matchday when Manchester City beat Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The Portuguese has been one of the Cityzens’ most consistent performers. After registering three assists in the Champions League game against Club Brugge, he starred in Manchester City’s win over their rivals at Old Trafford. He forced an own goal from Eric Bailly in the first half and then assisted the second one against the Red Devils.

Cancelo also had two shots well saved by David de Gea in the first half. In all, it was a magnificent performance from the full-back who is making it a habit of influencing games. In current circumstances, the Portuguese will almost naturally be considered untouchable by Manchester City, but things could have been different for Cancelo and he could very well have been playing in the red half of Manchester.

On the ‘Gary Neville Podcast’ on Sky (h/t Daily Mail), the former England defender claimed to have told Manchester United in the past to sign Cancelo up. While it seems those calls fell on deaf ears, the full-back has blossomed into one of the best in his position.

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Neville made a claim suggesting he liked the player during his time as the manager of Valencia. Cancelo was a youngster at that time, although favoured heavily by the former Manchester United full-back. His comments appeared in the Daily Mail, where he claims to have made calls to Manchester United regarding pursuing the Portuguese.

Neville said, “I love him as a lad. I loved him when he was out there. There was a vulnerability about him as he was so young. He’s so hard on himself, in training he used to be his (own) critic. If he made a mistake, he’d throw his arms on the ground and start cursing himself, and I used to say to him, ‘give yourself a break’.

“I had him as a very young player at Valencia, but you could just see exceptional talent. I made calls back to England; you could imagine which club I’m talking about, saying ‘if you’d ever take a young player, he’s one you’d take’. Him and Andre Gomes, I felt were exceptional talents that could come and grace the Premier League.”

Neville also praised Cancelo’s career trajectory further, claiming his football education has been top-notch. He continued, “The education Joao had in Italy would have been a good one for him. Then City paid £60m for him and the only doubt I had was the fact whether City needed to pay that money for a full-back again because they had players there.”

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