Phil Neville on his iPhone app
Could Everton captain Phil Neville be about to start a football revolution?
The former Manchester United man might not strike you as the most obvious Premier League player to launch his very own app but it is Neville - not Torres, Rooney or Fabregas - who has dived head first into the world of technology.
Giving an insight into the life of professional footballer that is increasingly rare in the modern era, Phil Neville - Football Training shows exactly what is required - in terms of training, diet and preparation - to be a top-flight performer.
Speaking exclusively to ESPNsoccernet, Neville gives the lowdown on his venture.
Tell us how the app came about?
I have a friend who is into technology and he suggested that I have my own website, but I'm absolutely obsessed with my iPhone so I said, 'Why don't we do an app?' I didn't know of any other footballer that had one and when I was growing up I was always interested in what the professionals were doing - not just the stuff in the papers, but more their training methods and what they ate, so he said, 'Let's do it then'. It was just an off-the-cuff comment really that then obviously progressed into me doing the app and it's gone really well so far.
Are you pleased with how it has turned out?
I think the result is fantastic, there's something on the app for whatever level you play at, whether it's ladies, men, girls or boys. It constantly gets updated too, so you don't just get the same content over and over again. It's really put me out of my comfort zone and I've thoroughly enjoyed putting it together.
How surprised are you that no other players have got involved?
Really, iPads and iPhones only massively took off a year or two ago but I think I was the first to do an app. I wouldn't be surprised if more players did it in the future though - it's a tremendous way to communicate with the fans and for 59p - well, it shows that I'm not doing it for the money! It's a great way for children and any football lover really to keep in contact and see how a professional footballer trains and lives his life. That's what the app is all about.
Did you force your Everton team-mates to download it?
It was the first thing I did, though a lot of them were refusing to do it because they think I'm profiting out of it! No, the response has been good really. Everybody that I know has bought it - I've made sure that everyone's dug deep to spend that 59p on it. It's been good and there's been a lot of banter flying around about it.
Do you feel the link between players and fans is missing in the modern era?
I'd say so, yeah. Players have to do interviews and we have commercial obligations but it's very difficult with the pressure that's on Premier League footballers and the media intrusion. I think it's important that players maintain some privacy in their lives. However, I also think that there's a big gap between the supporters and the players. I think it's important, particularly for the younger generation, to understand what goes on behind the scenes, what we do day in day out, what we eat and how we prepare and live our lives. We are role models at the end of the day and it's important that they get this information out. Maybe we should do it more, but it's very difficult to trust that the information can come out in the way you want it.