Football - Neville rejects claims over De Gea criticism

Gary Neville has rejected claims he was asked to "nail" David de Gea following Manchester United's Barclays Premier League draw with Tottenham on Sunday.

Neville, a Sky Sports analyst, was typically forthright in his assessment of De Gea's weak punch, which led to Clint Dempsey's injury-time equaliser and indicated Sir Alex Ferguson would share the same displeasure so obvious in the body language of his players.

Even though others disagreed, the assessment seemed pretty astute given Neville's knowledge of United, and the high praise he has earned in his role as a TV pundit.

However, it was subsequently suggested by former Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys that Neville had been asked to highlight De Gea's flaws, although he did not say who by.

Keys said of Neville on talkSPORT: "I think he was sent out with an agenda. I don't think Gary would have done that had he not been told: 'Listen, finger him'. I don't think you can nail a goalkeeper in that way can you?"

When informed of this observation via Twitter this morning, Neville's response was straight to the point.

"This is not interesting it's wrong," he said. "I never have and never will take instructions off anybody to say anything!"

Neville subsequently removed the Tweet, even though the response was understandable given no one has questioned his objectivity before.

In addition, the England assistant-coach had already underlined how highly he rates De Gea in another Twitter posting.

"For the record I think De Gea can be a great GK. He is young in an unforgiving environment and will physically mature in next 2 years."