He’s already made an impressive transition from footballer to pundit – now former Manchester United legend Gary Neville is preparing to deliver his withering verdicts on the silky dance skills of his footballing peers.
Neville is to join a panel of professional dance experts casting their eye over a host of footballers and celebrities at United’s charity version of Strictly Come Dancing.
He will join former Strictly judge Arlene Phillips on the panel, Prestwich’s respected choreographer of countless West End shows, as well as dance star Louie Spence, fresh from his role as judge on the Dancing On Ice panel.
He will be keeping a keen eye out for nifty footwork at the star-studded Dancing With United event, to be held at The Point at Lancashire County Cricket Club.
He’ll get to deliver dance scores to his former team-mates on the night, including United goalkeeping legend Peter Schmeichel and defender Quinton Fortune when they take to the dancefloor.
Schmeichel, of course, has a distinct advantage, having appeared in the real Strictly Come Dancing back in 2006, when he came a respectable seventh.
The footballers will be joined by celebs including Coronation Street stars Antony Cotton, Shobna Gulati and Jennie McAlpine, as well as this year’s Strictly favourite Lisa Riley reprising some of her moves.
They will all compete on the night, hosted by Angus Deayton and Ulrika Jonsson, for the top judges’ scores on March 7.
Organisers are hoping to raise thousands of pounds for the Manchester United Foundation on the night.
Reds fan and dedicated Foundation supporter Antony Cotton says all the celebs will be dancing to win. He says: “There’s so many charity dos out there, and we wanted to do something a little different.
“It’s going to take quite a bit of rehearsing, but I’m just hoping I can foxtrot my way to becoming the first Dancing with United winner!”
His Corrie co-star Jennie is also hoping to impress, although admits she has no dance experience.
She laughs: “I’m hoping that someone can teach me very quickly how to win the thing! I’m hoping there’s some short-cuts to master the art of dancing in my lunchbreak.”
And Jennie said she’s looking forward to Reds legend Neville giving his appraisal of her dance on the night.
She says: “I’m not sure he’s known for his dancing prowess, but maybe he’ll give a bit of running football commentary on it all.
“I’m just hoping the judges will be nice to us all, but we’re going to treat it like a good competition.”
To book tickets for the Dancing With United ball, call James Lester on 0161 868 8444 or email james.lester@ mufoundation.org.