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Everton captain Neville: Rangers boss Smith impressed everyone at Man Utd

Everton captain Phil Neville has paid tribute to Rangers boss Walter Smith.

Neville worked with the former Everton manager when he was assistant boss at Manchester United.

He told the Sunday Herald: "I must admit that Walter totally surprised me when he joined us.

"I had followed his career and so obviously held massive respect for his achievements at Rangers and the work at Everton. But I expected him to be totally fiery - another Fergie.

"Honestly I was blown away by the training ground experience. He came in and almost instantly lifted the group. We were in the midst of a 'down' spell and when the boss brought Walter in he took charge of training and helped win the FA Cup to rescue our season. OK, he had a hard edge like Fergie. But Walter used a slightly softer approach when it was appropriate, showed he could be a genuinely nice guy and the hard-nosed stuff only came out when needed.

"The biggest thing I learned is that he is a touch of class. Walter is a modern coach but an old-style football gent - good at his job, professional, stylish and funny with it. He'd dress with class, show wit in his humour, he'd be elegant in how he spoke, respectful but demanding.

"We beat Millwall in the FA Cup final and Walter won our respect well before that. It didn't surprise me at all that he chose to go back up to Scotland for the national team and Rangers or that success followed him in everything he did."

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