Gary Neville has said that Manchester United made the right decision to abandon their plan for Mason Greenwood’s return to the club, but that the process in getting there has been “pretty horrible” and lacked leadership.
The club confirmed on Wednesday that Greenwood would not return to United’s first team following a public backlash.
United faced mounting criticism after The Athletic reported last Wednesday that United chief executive Richard Arnold held a meeting with the club’s executive leadership in the first week of August to inform them the plan was for Greenwood to return.
Former United defender Neville said to Sky Sports: “Yes, they have (made the right decision). They have finally got there.
“It was clear from day one that he wouldn’t play for Manchester United again.
“The process in getting there has been pretty horrible. When you have significant situations, and difficult situations like this, it requires strong authoritative leadership. And that comes from the very top. Manchester United don’t have that.
“And on an issue like domestic abuse and violence against women, it brings me to a third point that there needs to be independence.
“It shouldn’t be that Manchester United are the judge and jury on such a significant issue, not just for themselves but also for the game.
“People talk about reputation to Manchester United but it’s the Premier League here as well. And my view here is that on issues of this importance and severity they should be dealt with independently by a panel.
“Because it’s been clear that Manchester United have not had the skill and the ability to deal with this situation properly – it’s been well above their grade of experience and ability.”
Mason Greenwood and Manchester United: The U-turn – what happened and why
Greenwood had been subject to an internal investigation from United since February when the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) discontinued its case against him for attempted rape, assault, and coercive control.
The CPS said there was “no longer a realistic prospect of conviction” after key witnesses withdrew their cooperation from the investigation. Greenwood denied all the alleged offences.
Speaking for the first time since the case was dropped, Greenwood reiterated that stance while admitting to “mistakes” and wanting “to take my share of responsibility”.
Former England international Karen Carney also echoed Neville’s comments, saying the situation has been “handled really poorly”.
She added: “I think from statements, that have been confusing and conflicting to everybody. From leaks. From involving stakeholders unnecessarily. I.e. female players, our Lionesses.”
“It’s a really uneasy situation for me.”
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