Neville ended an eight-year spell with Everton, the club he joined from Manchester United in 2005 for a fee of 3.5 million pounds, last month and has now decided to hang up his boots.
"When I made a statement that I was leaving Everton everywhere I went I seemed to be getting 'oh you've been brilliant'," he told reporters at the European Under-21 Championship in Israel.
"I didn't like it, I didn't want to be seen as an attention seeker. In my heart I knew I wouldn't be playing again at any level, I just wanted to drift away."
Neville, who has been helping England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce at the European Championship, has been linked in media reports with assistant coaching jobs at United and Everton.
He did not lift any silverware during his time at Everton but helped United win six Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the 1999 Champions League.
Neville made 59 international appearances between 1996 and 2007.
His older brother Gary, who had a one-club career with United and played 85 times for England, retired from football in 2011.
Gary is now a member of England coach Roy Hodgson's backroom staff.
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