Former Manchester United full-back Gary Neville has admitted he was ready to retire and is enjoying a more relaxed lifestyle now he has called it a day.
The 36-year-old hung up his boots last month after a career spanning 19 years and more than 600 appearances.
And Neville confessed: “It was a struggle towards the end for me.
“I was ready for it, when people finish their career they miss it. I feel content and happy, watching the games and enjoying it.”
His efforts for United are likely to be remembered in a testimonial match at the end of the season, with an announcement due within the next couple of weeks.
But the former United captain does not miss the strict regime he had to follow to continue a career at the top level of European football for so long.
He explained: “Hotel, rest, match, eat, sleep. That was the pattern, you are institutionalised into being like that. You have a privileged lifestyle but have to be professional.”
Despite not missing playing for United, Neville is still a huge fan and was spotted in among the crowd during the 2-1 defeat at Chelsea.
He added: “I just wanted to go and watch a few games normally, we decided to queue up outside. I wanted the real atmosphere and really enjoyed it. It was a different experience.”
Neville also backed up Sir Alex Ferguson’s recent quotes regarding aiming for all three major trophies in one season – the last time United did it in 1999 Neville played a huge part on all fronts.
However, he warned: “You never think about winning a treble – you’re playing Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday and you don’t have time to think about games that are six weeks away.”
And he has been impressed with striker Javier Hernandez since his arrival at the club.
He added: “He can play a big part – he’s got an eye for goal, great movement, a little bit selfish and is always working and chasing down.”