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By ESPN Staff

Man City boss backs Neville over agents

Stuart Pearce has backed Gary Neville's claim that it is about time players started to take more responsibility for themselves rather than rely totally on agents.

Neville caused consternation among the agent fraternity yesterday when he stated his belief football would be better off without them.

While Pearce does not quite go that far, he does accept the general point the Manchester United skipper was trying to make.

As manager at Manchester City, Pearce has already endured his frustrations in negotiations with agents. And, even more worryingly, he has detected an over-reliance on advisors among his young players.

'There are good and bad agents, as there are good and bad people in every industry,' said Pearce.

'You can't really tar everyone with the same brush, although I do understand Gary's sentiments.

'The overriding point Gary was making was that players have to take more responsibility for themselves.

'Sometimes players have to know what is right for them and understand that opinion.

'I have taken lads to one side and said I am thinking of sending him out on loan. He says he will get back to you the following day after he has spoken to his agent.

'I can respect that as a manager but as a player I could have probably given an answer myself without speaking to anyone.'

Pearce's old Nottingham Forest boss Brian Clough was a notorious member of the anti-agent brigade.

Clough famously refused to allow any agent on the Forest training ground during the latter stages of his management career.

Pearce accepts the scene has changed beyond all recognition since those times but is convinced the fundamental point remains that the player's well-being must be the most important consideration.

'It is too simplistic to say football doesn't need agents,' he said.

'Everyone is entitled to use whatever outside help they can get.

'I used an agent for a long period to run one or two commercial aspects of my life so I didn't have to pick the telephone up all the time and I could concentrate on football.

'As long as they have the player's interest at heart, there is no problem.'