Manchester United's Gary Neville on education for all, champagne socialism and Ronaldo's return

Presenter Lucy Meacock sits down with Manchester United legend Gary Neville.

The former Manchester United player Gary Neville has hit out at the Government for failing to look after people struggling to make ends meet.

He said he was ashamed to live in a country where people were having to choose between eating or heating.

The ex-defender has launched a new scheme to get young people from deprived backgrounds into university. 

The Make It For Real scheme, inspired by the efforts of Marcus Rashford, is with the University Academy he set up with his former class of 92 players.

People aged between 17 and 20 who would have been eligible for free school meals can apply. It is a free £5,000 support package of education essentials.

It helps students with travel for the three years that they attend university, as well as provide a laptop and unlimited data.

It also offers lunch vouchers for 52 weeks of the year and vouchers to buy home essentials.

Currently only 26% of students eligible for free school meals progress to higher education, compared to 45% of those who do not receive free school meals.

Gary Nerville Credit: PA

Speaking to ITV Granada Reports, Gary had some strong words about the Government and why he felt he had to act.

He said: "My reliance on government to do the right thing is lost - that's my own personal opinion. However what we can do in the private sector, and in other institutions, is do our very best.

"I think that's what we're trying to do here is to put packages in place that support young people and give them the option to go to university. I can't believe I'm saying that because it should be the choice for everybody.

"It shouldn't be dependent on your post code as to whether you get high quality to education or access to education."

Gary has described the £20 universal credit cut as a 'ridiculous decision'.

The government introduced the top-up at the start of the first lockdown, insisting it was a temporary measure to help those hit hardest by the pandemic. 

"As far as I can see those economic problems haven't ended so I don't know why the universal credit is being taken away", he said.

"It is a ridiculous decision as this moment in time, just as we're starting to come out of a pandemic."

Gary Neville played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo during his first spell with Manchester United in the early 2000s.

He described his re-signing with the club as a 'thing of joy' and says it has been emotional over the last few weeks watching the fans react to his return.

He said: "It's wonderful. I love what's happening in the city because of it.

"I love what's happening in the premier league because of it and we should continue to enjoy interventions like Ronaldo, Pep Guardiola, Jürgen Klopp - they're great people to come into our leagues."

For more information on the Make It For Real support package and details how to apply visit