At 33, younger brother Phil has age on his side, as well as a firm belief in Everton circles that he would prove the risk-free option for reinforcing the right side of England's defence.
With Wes Brown succumbing to an injury and Glen Johnson only just returning from one, assessing alternative No 2s may well be priority No 1 for Fabio Capello.
Living the dream: Everton skipper Phil neville holds off Bolton striker Johan Elmander as he attempts to impress his World Cup credentials
If so, Neville could hardly have done more than lead Everton to a landmark victory on his 200th appearance since cutting his Old Trafford ties and leaving Gary behind five years ago.
Enlarge Pride at skippering Everton to their seventh successive home League win - their best sequence in 20 years - was tinged with a sense of realism about his World Cup prospects, though, as he said: 'I would love to go and I haven't given up on it. This is the first time in my Everton career I've had a sustained run at right back and there aren't too many available.
'Wes is injured, so there could be a chance to go as understudy to Johnson. I have been to three European Championships but have always missed out on the World Cup at the last hurdle. I was in the last 28 in 1998 and last 30 in 2002 and 2006 without going to any.
'It would be the greatest achievement of my career, but I seem to be down the pecking order and can't help thinking perhaps my time has gone.
'My motivation after leaving Manchester United was not to be a failure, because I'd seen that happen to so many others.
Flight of fancy: Masterful midfielder Mikel Arteta (L) floats in a wonderul goal for the host with a well crafted set-piece
'I was 28 and fortunately I found the right club at the right time and, in particular, the right manager, in David Moyes.'
MATCH FACTS EVERTON (4-5-1): Howard 6, Neville 7,Jagielka 6, Distin 6, Baines 6; Anichebe 6 (Bilyaletdinov 15min, 6), Heitinga 7, Arteta 7, Cahill 6 (Saha 62, 6), Pienaar 6; Yakubu 6 (Osman 76, 6).
BOLTON (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen 6; Steinsson 6, O'Brien 6, Knight 6, Robinson 6; Lee 6, Cohen 5 (M Davies 83), Muamba 5, Wilshere 6 (Taylor 81); Elmander 5 (Ricketts 71, 6), K Davies 6.Booked: Cohen, Lee. Sent off: Steinsson.
Man of the match: Mikel Arteta.Referee: Alan Wiley.
Moyes was celebrating a landmark of his own after completing eightyears in charge just six days earlier. There was controversy regardinghis side's first goal, though. Bolton were angry that Mikel Artetamoved the ball forward seven metres before striking in his 72nd-minutefree-kick.
An 89th-minute Steven Pienaar goal finally overcame stubborn opposition.
But Moyes enjoyed his anniversary win, saying: 'I am proud that only Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have had more continuous service in the Premier League, but it is getting more difficult all the time.'
Bolton rarely threatened and were up against it after Gretar Steinsson's dismissal for tripping Yakubu in the 70th minute.
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