Gary Neville thinks Ed Woodward is leaving Manchester United because of the criticism he would have received in the next few months.

The executive vice-chairman of United will be stepping down at the end of 2021 following backlash from the footballing world over plans of a European Super League.

The initial proposals of the breakaway league were met with wide-ranging condemnation by fans, pundits and many more - but United have since confirmed their withdrawal.

The other five English clubs meant to participate - Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea - have also announced their u-turns.

Prior to United revealing their decision, the club issued a statement about Woodward 's resignation.

Former United defender Neville has a theory on why Woodward has stepped down from his role at Old Trafford.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Neville said: “We obviously don’t know why the timing is now. The leeches could have thrown him under a bus, there’s no doubt about that.

"Or it could be that the sensible thing has happened, that Ed Woodward knew it was going to get too hot in the kitchen for him in the next few months and he needed to get out of there.

"The fact of the matter is that, not just Woodward, but every single executive that sits at the Premier League table, every single executive that’s on these UEFA or FIFA committees, they need throwing out of that club because there’s no way they can be trusted.

"Ed Woodward knew his time in football was finished, probably this morning, and he’s probably done that to keep away from the criticism that would’ve come his way in the next few months.

"However, Ed Woodward is the trunk of the tree, we now need to go for the roots.

"I said last night I felt complicit, they’ve declared their hand. While they were sat at the club never making a statement, never showing their hands, never doing media conferences, yes they were taking money out of the club, yes they’ve leveraged against the club, there’s nothing we can do about that once the club became a PLC. I said last night they attacked every single football fan in this country with what they did."

Woodward released a statement following the decision and insisted the Manchester club were "well-positioned for the future" after his reign.

“I am extremely proud to have served United and it has been an honour to work for the world’s greatest football club for the past 16 years.

“The club is well-positioned for the future and it will be difficult to walk away at the end of the year.

“I will treasure the memories from my time at Old Trafford, during a period when we won the Europa League, the FA Cup and the EFL Cup. I am proud of the regeneration of the club’s culture and our return to the Manchester United way of playing.

"We have invested more than £1bn in the squad during my time here and I am particularly delighted with the progress the players have made under the astute leadership of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his coaching team in the last two years.

“I am sure that with the changes we have made on-field and to the coaching and football staff in recent years this great club will soon be lifting silverware again. It deserves to."