In his regular column Gary Neville discusses the importance of having a core group of players.

At Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson was clever because he built such a strong team and squad that he was never in a position where he had to rebuild. He was always massaging the squad summer by summer. There was always two or three in and out, or one-in, one-out. But there was always a core of players who’d been there for six or seven years and I think that’s what you really want. Sir Alex Ferguson publicly said to “never to let a team grow old together” and I agree that to refresh, rather than rebuild a squad, is the way to do it.

People always talk about ‘rebuilding’ but as a manager you need to be given time to be able to manipulate the squad year on year and not sign seven or eight players and then find yourself out of a job the next summer. We’ve seen plenty of examples of that in recent seasons in the Premier League. Last summer, Crystal Palace and Sunderland had a big overhaul of players, well into double figures. I think it’s very difficult to integrate so many players all at once when you don’t get given the time. Ian Holloway signed a lot of players at Crystal Palace, it was revealed this week they’ve got the biggest squad in Europe’s top divisions, and yet he was out of a job a few months later!

Gary Neville was speaking in his fortnightly column for EA SPORTS FIFA 14 Ultimate Team. Read the full column at