Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has no hesitation in declaring Gary Neville to be the best English right-back of the Premier League era.
Neville announced his retirement on Wednesday, ending a stellar career that has brought him eight Premier League titles and a Champions League triumph, plus 85 England caps.
The 35-year-old has not always enjoyed cordial relationships with Arsenal and it was his initial tunnel row with Patrick Vieira that sparked the angry exchange between the Gunners skipper and Roy Keane at Highbury in 2005. But that did not stop Wenger offering his own assessment of Neville's qualities.
"Best English right-back in the Premier League? Certainly,'' Wenger said. "If you look at his record, he has won absolutely everything and with the number of games he has played, he is without a doubt the best.''
Although Neville's talent is in danger of being underplayed, Wenger concurs with the widespread view that the Bury-born star achieved the levels he did through sheer force of will and persistence.
"I respect what he has done a lot because he was certainly not one of the most talented players in the league,'' he said. ``But what he has achieved is consistency.
"His record is down to intelligence and motivation - he is an example to players who are maybe less gifted than the Ryan Giggses or the David Beckhams.
"He still had a fantastic career because he is intelligent and highly motivated. He deserves great credit.''