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Manchester United’s Gary Neville has criticised the involvement of football agents, saying players do not need them.

The England defender said the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) should conduct contract negotiations and transfer dealings.

“Footballers think they need agents – but it’s not the case,” said Neville.

“Players need good advice and good accountants – but they don’t need people taking hundreds of thousands of pounds off of them.”

Neville has been represented by his father Neville throughout his career, but he believes some players are being misrepresented by their agents.

“It has always been a concern for me,” he added.

“A guy can go in to a deal and expect to be giving hundreds of thousands or, these days, even millions to an agent. That money’s going out of the game.”

Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the PFA, admitted he had reservations over the role of agents.

“I worry they trawl their nets too wide sometimes for youngsters in the hope they can pick one up – and then don’t give enough care,” he said.

“Of the 600 youngsters who enter the game at 16, five out of six will be out of it by the time they are 21.

“So I’ll be interested to see how many agents help young players to get through university, or job re-training, or look after their operations in later years.

“Obviously there are players who need a 24-hour service, and that is not always possible for us to provide – because we do have 4,000 members.

“But certainly that side of affairs is developing and building up (within the PFA).”

“Gary Neville always speaks his mind. He speaks as he finds – and he is entitled to his opinion,” he said.

“It’s one of the reasons why the PFA have always been keen to make clear to our members that we’ve the best experience in the world – and we’re happy to help them all with contracts and negotiations.

“That’s what we’re about – but having said that, there are a number of players who have agents we work with on different issues.”


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