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World Cup 2010: Gary Neville ready to ease England's defensive worries
Published : 16 Mar 2010 10:06:35
Neville, who won the last of his 85 caps in the friendly defeat against Spain at Old Trafford in Feb 2007, has emerged as a late contender for Capello's 23-man squad due to a series of injuries afflicting England's back four. Manchester United team-mate Wes Brown is battling a broken metatarsal injury, while the versatile Owen Hargreaves remains sidelined 18 months after his last senior appearance before double knee surgery. With David Beckham being ruled out of South Africa with a ruptured Achilles tendon, Neville's experience could prove crucial for England this summer. And the 35-year-old, who earned a call-up to the squad for last June's World Cup 2010 qualifier in Kazakhstan, admits he is available if Capello opts to call on his services. Neville told the Times of Malta: 'Lots of people have been asking about the possibility of me making England's World Cup squad but it is not something I'm really thinking about. 'I'm just concentrating on playing as many games I can for United and if that brings a call-up for England, then I would take it. 'I've always said I wouldn't retire from international football and I would always be available to play. 'But I have not been in the squad for about 10 months so it's not something I'm expecting and it is in the hands of other people rather than me. Firstly, I need to stay fit until the end of the season and play games. 'In the past couple of weeks I have felt a lot stronger. Staying fit and playing games for a period of time helps me to feel that way. 'I was pleased to be part of the team against AC Milan last Wednesday, but in football, you play one good game and the next week it can all change. 'I'm too long in the tooth to get carried away by one match or a series of matches over two or three weeks. 'It is not until the end of the season that you can look back and say whether it has been a good season individually and collectively for the team.' Neville could yet go to the World Cup in search of a new club if United manager Sir Alex Ferguson fails to offer him a new contract. Although Ferguson claimed last week that the defender, who made his England debut against Japan in 1995, can go on for another season, Neville admits his United future remains in the balance. Neville said: 'I can't answer that question yet, but it is not a case of me being tight-lipped. The manager and I decided that it is best to wait until the end of the season and look at the situation then. 'Distractions can be caused by contract talks during a season, it has happened many times over the years and that is not something I want to be involved in. 'I just want to concentrate on playing, staying fit and being part of the team. There will be nothing to report until I have spoken with the manager at the end of the season.'