Uncertainty over the future of Everton manager David Moyes may have played a key role in Phil Neville's decision to leave the club this summer, according to former Toffees defender Andy Hinchcliffe.
Neville, 36, confirmed earlier today that he is to depart the Merseyside outfit - who he joined from Manchester United in 2005 - when his current deal expires at the end of the season, with the defender stressing that he will be looking to continue his playing career telsewhere.
Moyes, Everton's manager since 2002, is also out of contract in the summer and has made it clear he does not intend to make a decision about a new one until the 2012-13 campaign has finished - something Hinchcliffe feels could well have figured prominently in club captain Neville's thinking.
"I suppose Phil is looking at the situation with David Moyes," Hinchcliffe told Sky Sports News.
"It is a very uncertain summer ahead for Everton I think. David Moyes is not committed to a new contract there, so Phil maybe has had chats with him and he is not really sure what the future holds for Moyes.
"Maybe he can't really sign a contract and decide to stay at Everton if he doesn't know who the manager is going to be."
Neville, in a statement released to Press Association Sport, said: "It's been an honour to play for and captain Everton Football Club.
"I've thoroughly enjoyed my time on Merseyside and will leave with immense pride. I would like to thank the manager, chairman, all of the staff and the players at Everton for their continued support during my time at the club.
"I'd also like to pay a special thanks to the fans, who have been amazing over the past eight years and Everton will always have a place in my heart.
"I want to continue to play at the top level as long as I physically can, and will be weighing up my options before making a decision on my next move.
"I'll now be doing everything I can to help Everton finish as high up the league table as possible.''
Neville will work as part of Stuart Pearce's England Under-21s backroom staff this summer at the European Championship in Israel, having previously done so for the Young Lions' qualifier against Belgium in February 2012. And Hinchcliffe believes Neville may look to take on some coaching duties at the next club he signs for as a player.
"When he moves on, I would not be surprised if it is not all about playing for Phil," Hinchcliffe said.
"He wants to play for another two or three years and if he is fit enough to do it, then great.
"But I think he will start to think about the coaching side of things, especially with him being away in the summer in Israel with England Under-21s.
"His mind will start thinking about coaching players rather than actually playing himself."
Hinchcliffe sees a Barclays Premier League club currently below sixth-placed Everton in the table as a realistic destination for Neville.
"I'm sure there are plenty of clubs in the Premier League that will look at him," Hinchcliffe said.
"Maybe he can't cover the ground that he did five or six years ago, but he has a wealth of experience and is a versatile player as well.
"He can play in central midfield or at right-back, and score the odd goal or two.
"But I think it would be a struggle for him to move upwards in terms of Premier League clubs - I think you are probably looking at teams that are currently below Everton in the league."
Neville, who has won 59 England caps, joined United as a trainee in 1993, made his debut for them in January 1995 and won six Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the European Cup with the Red Devils.
Following his move to Everton in August 2005, he became skipper at Goodison Park when David Weir left the club in January 2007. The last Premier League game he played in was against United in February.
Hinchcliffe hailed Neville's impact at Everton, saying: "He has been absolutely fantastic for that club. "With the standards of his training, the way that he thinks about the game and the way that he performs for that club, I think he has pulled a lot of younger players along with him at Everton as well.
"I think it was a fantastic signing from David Moyes to bring him in in the first place, to prove that Everton can drag players from top clubs. "I'm sure Everton fans will be really disappointed that Phil has now decided to leave."