Manchester United manager David Moyes last night looked to be heading out of Old Trafford despite the club insisting he has not been sacked.
Widespread reports claimed the former Everton boss would be told his time at United is up after a dire first season in charge of the Premier League champions.
It is understood the 50-year-old Scot – appointed as successor to Sir Alex Ferguson last summer on a six-year contract –– remains the Red Devils manager.
But the reports that his days are numbered were a reflection on the troubled campaign Moyes has experienced, missing out on Champions League football for 2014-15 and making a feeble defence of United’s record 20th league crown.
Former United captain Gary Neville last night called on the club to either publicly back Moyes or confirm he is being sacked.
Should he go, contenders for the post are likely to include Borussia Dortmund’s Jurgen Klopp, Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone, Holland coach Louis van Gaal, and even United veteran Ryan Giggs.
Speculation about Moyes’s future intensified yesterday afternoon and Neville admits he has major concerns for the manager, urging United to clarify the situation as soon as possible.
Neville said: “I fear for him. I haven’t spoken to anyone at the club (yesterday). Usually they don’t comment on anything, but they’re going to have to clarify this position quickly.
“They might have to break rank and do what they don’t normally do and make a statement pretty quickly.”
Neville also urged United not to follow the trend of other clubs who hire and fire every season, and instead allow Moyes the chance to show what he can do.
He said: “I genuinely believe when you give a man a six-year contract that he deserves the opportunity and time and, professionally, the respect.
“Football is a world of madness. The average manager gets sacked every 12 months and I’ve always felt Manchester United should be different, hold themselves up as a club that basically stands against what’s happening in the game.
“We used to laugh at Italy 20 years ago and say it’s ridiculous what’s happening there. Now we’ve almost become accustomed to it. I’m hoping the club will come out and clarify it, and maybe it won’t be true.”
However, England’s assistant coach acknowledged United’s displays this season have not helped the manager. Yesterday’s reports cited the loss to Everton as the final straw for the Glazer family, the owners of United.