However, the full-back made himself a real favourite among the Maine Road faithful on this very day some 11 years ago.
United made the trip to rivals Manchester City having not lost on their turf since the 5-1 demolition back in 1989 - a run that dated back some seven encounters.
© Getty Images
The hosts got off to a perfect start when in the fifth minute their then-record signing, Nicolas Anelka, pounced on Fabien Barthez's failure to hold Shaun Goater's initial shot to break the deadlock from close range.
Their joy would be short-lived, though, as just three minutes later the visitors were level when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sent Ryan Giggs's cross beyond the reach of former United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel. It was expected that United would go on to dominate the contest, but City, with a helping hand from Neville, regained the lead in the 26th minute.
The United defender appeared to be guiding the ball out of play, but under pressure from Goater, he inexplicably attempted to pass the ball back to Barthez. Goater read his intentions to intercept, before putting his side back in front with a low finish.
© Getty Images
Further slack defending five minutes after the restart then saw City put the game out of United's reach. Eyal Berkovic threaded a pass through for Goater, who waited for Barthez to commit himself and then he neatly lifted the ball into an unguarded net. That strike was 'The Goat's' 100th in City colours.
United pushed hard for a route back into the contest - the last Manchester derby at Maine Road - during the remaining minutes, but their afternoon was summed up when substitute John O'Shea missed an open goal in the closing stages.
MAN CITY: Schmeichel; Dunne, Wiekens, Mettomo, Jihai; Berkovic (Wright-Phillips 78), Foe, Tiatto (Horlock 88), Jensen; Anelka, Goater
MAN UNITED: Barthez; G Neville (O'Shea 62), Blanc, Ferdinand, Silvestre; Solskjaer, Veron (Forlan 62), P Neville, Giggs, Scholes; Van Nistelrooy