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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 November 2007, 21:44 GMT
Neville returns in reserves match
Gary Neville
Neville played for 56 minutes in a reserves game
Manchester United defender Gary Neville has made his long-awaited comeback from injury, playing for nearly an hour for the club's reserves on Thursday.

The right-back, 32, suffered an ankle injury in March while muscle strains have delayed his return this season.

Neville was booked and scored an own goal as United beat Stockport 6-1 in the Manchester Senior Cup.

Given United play Arsenal on Saturday just after midday it seems doubtful Neville will feature in that game.

I feel once we get that strong squad together we are capable of going and winning the league again

Sir Alex Ferguson

But the United defender may make the bench for next week's Champions League game against Dynamo Kiev.

Neville's return will be welcome news for England boss Steve McLaren with a crucial Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia coming up on 21 November.

Neville's international replacement, Manchester City full-back Micah Richards was stretchered off in a Carling Cup victory over Bolton.

Richards is having a scan to reveal the extent of his injury on Thursday and could be doubtful for the game at Wembley.

Meanwhile, defender Rio Ferdinand will be fit for the game at the Emirates against Arsenal.

Reports suggested the 28-year-old defender had undergone a scan amid fears he had suffered a recurrence of a groin problem he sustained last season.

But a club statement said: "Rio Ferdinand is fit to face Arsenal.

"He trained with the rest of the squad on Tuesday, and is considered fully fit and ready to play against the Gunners."

606: DEBATE

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been buoyed by the good news coming out of Old Trafford.

He said: "We have had some incredible injury situations, but over the last few years we've been like that at early season with a lot of injuries.

"I hope and pray that by the time we come to December - because the second half of the season is where it really begins - we have got a good strong squad together.

"I feel that once we get that strong squad together we are capable of going and winning the league again."

Ferguson also paid tribute to Carlos Tevez, who despite struggling to learn English is letting "the football language talk".

Tevez is being given private tuition at home to improve his English and Ferguson said he is working hard.

"What I have noticed since he has come to us, is that when he loses the ball he wants it back which is a great attribute to have as a striker," Ferguson added.

"Not every striker thinks that way, so he's got a lot of great things about him and most importantly that great enthusiasm to play."



SEE ALSO
Richards injury worry for England
01 Nov 07 |  Man City
Neville's Man Utd return on hold
11 Oct 07 |  Man Utd
Neville close to Man Utd return
11 Sep 07 |  Man Utd
Man Utd 4-1 Bolton
17 Mar 07 |  Premier League


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