Former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville is to join Sky Sports from next season.

Neville, who was tipped by many to pursue a career in broadcasting following his retirement earlier this season, will link up with the Sky Sports team at the start of the 2011-2012 season.

He will provide expert analysis and comment from both the studio and the commentary box on all of Sky Sports’ major football output – including Premier League, UEFA Champions League, Carling Cup and international fixtures.

“I am thrilled to be joining Sky Sports,” said Neville, who is looking forward to the fresh challenge.

“It has always been leading the way in football coverage. Now I have retired this feels like the perfect way for me to stay involved in football and I am looking forward to bringing my 19 years of match experience into television.”

Neville spent his whole playing career with Manchester United. He made 602 appearances for the club, and won the UEFA Champions League, eight Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups and the UEFA Cup Winners Cup.

He is the most-capped England right-back, with 85 international caps to his name.

Described by Sir Alex Ferguson as “the best right-back of his generation”, Neville was part of the United squad which won the FA Youth Cup in 1992 alongside David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes.

Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis said: “Gary will bring vast experience at the top level of domestic and European football from nearly a decade with Manchester United.

“He will give our viewers great insight when he joins our team next season working on Barclays Premier League, UEFA Champions League and Carling Cup football next season.”

Neville’s most recent appearance in the Sky Sports studio was at Millennium Stadium for the Euro 2012 Qualifier between Wales and England in March.

Neville will act as a replacement for Andy Gray, who was embroiled in a scandal earlier this year, alongside former longstanding Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys after sexist comments they made off-air were leaked onto the internet.

He is no stranger to television punditry, having made his debut with ITV at the 2002 World Cup, which he missed due to injury.

Sitting alongside the likes of Terry Venables, Sir Bobby Robson and Paul Gascoigne in the ITV studios at the Japan/South Korea tournament, he impressed ITV’s head of sport Brian Barwick, who tipped him to become a future pundit when he eventually retired.

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