'Neville shouted at me from across the canteen - I didn't eat butter for a decade'


Man United player didn't eat butter for 10 years because of Gary Neville

A comment from Gary Neville prompted a former Manchester United youngster to refrain from eating butter for a whole decade, he has revealed.

Eddie Johnson started off with Crewe Alexandra as a youngster before joining the youth ranks at United in 1999 and later signing as a trainee.

He scored in the 2003 FA Youth Cup final win over Middlesbrough and made his United debut the following season.

It came in extra time of a 3-2 League Cup win over Leeds United at Elland Road and ended up being the only first-team appearance Johnson made for the club.

Johnson spent time on loan at Royal Antwerp, Coventry City and Crewe before signing for Bradford City.

But he learned a lot of lessons from his time at United and cut butter out of his diet after former captain Neville called him out over his body fat in the canteen.

Man United player didn't eat butter for 10 years because of Gary Neville

"I didn't eat butter for a decade because of Gary Neville," he told the Manchester Evening News.

"I struggled with body fat which was a big thing. He saw me putting butter on my toast at breakfast and he shouted across the canteen 'Eddie I am sure your body fat is too high.' And I froze. Even when I left the club I didn't eat butter!

"Sometimes I didn't want to see Gary Neville but when I left what I realised was that he was putting demands of what the first team expect from you.

"Some people recognise what is going on and I probably didn't but I have taken those lessons into everything I do now and so I owe the club a lot."

Johnson, a former England Under 20 international, went on to play over in the United States with Austin Aztex and Portland Timbers before hanging up his boots.

Man United player didn't eat butter for 10 years because of Gary Neville

While he was learning his trade at United, he got useful advice from the likes of Roy Keane and Ryan Giggs. However, there was a trio of players whose company he didn't enjoy.

He added: "Most of the senior lads were great. There were only three people at United I never really liked, (Fabien) Barthez, Laurent Blanc and Ruud (Van Nistelrooy).

"Laurent and Fabien wouldn't acknowledge you which was poor considering the rest of the first team were great.

"I didn't necessarily dislike Ruud but he made it tough for you. Gary Neville made it tough but never made you feel like you were below him, whereas Ruud was different. I felt he didn't like the young lads."

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