Former footballer and now England women's national team manager Phil Neville has described Merseyside derbies between Everton and their city rivals Liverpool as 'overhyped', claiming he hated them as a player due to the Toffees putting too much importance on the fixture.
Neville joined Everton from his boyhood club Manchester United in 2005 and went on to make 305 appearances in all competitions for the Toffeesk before hanging up his boots in 2013. The defender's stint with Everton was a success, but he has admitted that there was one element of his time there that he did not enjoy.
Speaking to brother Gary on Sky Sports' Soccerbox show (via the Express), Neville claimed that he didn't think much of Merseyside derbies and he also suggested Everton in particular put far too much focus on the games.
"I hated Merseyside derbies, I really did. I thought they were overhyped." the ex-defender told his brother.
"I think a Manchester derby, we used to talk about from 48 hours before. Merseyside derbies were a week before.
"The masseur would put up on the wall 'five more sleeps'. The next day 'four more sleeps', the next day 'three more sleeps until the Merseyside derby'. It was the biggest game.
"We used to go into derby days full of confidence thinking we could compete but Liverpool always used to play the game.
"We got too involved in trying to smash someone early on, fans saying you've got to die for the badge. It was the only game Everton wanted to win."
Despite not showing much love for the derby, Neville did admit that Everton fans were able to generate a much better atmosphere during home games than that of their local rivals.
"It was a better atmosphere at Goodison Park it was tighter," he said. "The fans were closer to the pitch - although they had a brilliant record at Goodison Park."
During his eight-season spell at Everton, Neville only enjoyed three wins over Liverpool in 19 meetings - perhaps contributing to his dislike of the fixture.