Neville to leave Everton at season's end

Former England international defender Phil Neville will leave Everton at the end of the season after eight years at the club, he announced.

The versatile 36-year-old, who joined Everton from Manchester United in 2005, said he wanted to continue playing football at the highest level.

"It's been an honour to play for and captain Everton Football Club," Neville said in a statement published on the club website,

"I've thoroughly enjoyed my time on Merseyside and will leave with immense pride. I would like to thank the manager, chairman, all of the staff and the players at Everton for their continued support during my time at the club.

"I'd also like to pay a special thanks to the fans, who have been amazing over the past eight years and Everton will always have a place in my heart.

"I want to continue to play at the top level as long as I physically can, and will be weighing up my options before making a decision on my next move. I'll now be doing everything I can to help Everton finish as high up the league table as possible."

It had already been announced that Neville will take up a role with the England Under-21 back-room staff for the European Championships in Israel in June.

Neville's elder brother, Gary, retired from football in 2011 and currently combines work as a television pundit with a coaching role for the England senior team.

Phil Neville won six Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the 1998-99 Champions League during his 10-year spell at United, where he had captained the youth team.

Able to play in both full-back positions or in a defensive midfield role, he has won 59 caps for England and was appointed as Everton's club captain in January 2007.

He first worked with the England Under-21s when they played against Belgium in February last year and says he is looking forward to repeating the experience.

Speaking about the forthcoming Under-21 European Championship, Neville told the Football Association website earlier this month: "It is a fantastic opportunity for me to work with the best young players at under-21 level.

"I had a little taste of this against Belgium and it was probably the best three days I have had -- it was a real eye-opener. Those three days told me that coaching is what I really want to do."

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