At 35, the former England full-back had long since stopped worrying about such matters.
Yet, as the realisation of what was coming suddenly dawned, he confirmed his feeling that life was about to change.
"I turned round during training one morning and said 'I have three games to go at Manchester United'," said Neville at a sponsorship announcement for Singha Beer.
"I had not spoken to the club and I genuinely felt it could be the last three weeks.
"The club didn't owe me anything and I was more than happy. I was enjoying myself.
"In some ways, my best football came in a period I thought I was just going to enjoy."