Ferguson, says Neville, was the first person he went to when he started to think his 36-year-old body could not endure much more punishment.
"I'd had conversations with my wife and my mum and dad," he told the Daily Mail. "And I spoke to Scholesy and Ryan Giggs too, because we have shared most things over the last 20 years.
"But, professionally, the first person I spoke to was the manager. It's how it works at United. If you have a problem, something you need to talk about, you go and see the manager.
"And I think I was in his office for about an hour and a half that day. He told me to go away and think about it, and sent me away on holiday.
"There's never any problem with him in that respect. You can see him about anything. If you feel you have a crisis in your life he will make sense of it all. And he'll look after you and make sure it is dealt with correctly.
"Sometimes in the media it is questioned, the way he protects his players. But they are his people. He looks after them."