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Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Friday, 9 July 2010 17:36 UK

Injured Gary Neville forced to miss United's US tour

Gary Neville
Neville has made more than 600 appearances for Manchester United

Manchester United captain Gary Neville will miss the club's tour of North America after picking up a calf injury.

The 35-year-old defender, who signed a one-year contract extension at the end of the 2009-10 season, has been advised to stay at home.

United leave for Chicago on Monday and Rafael, who turned 20 on Friday, is expected to keep the right-back spot.

Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson is hoping Neville will be fit for the start of the new campaign in August.

The former England international played 27 games for United last season and did enough to earn a contract extension but the 2010-11 campaign is widely expected to be his last as player at Old Trafford.

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Neville, along with fellow veterans Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, remains a vital font of experience for younger players like Rafael, his twin brother Fabio, Gabriel Obertan and new signing Chris Smalling.

United kick off their summer tour with a friendly against Celtic in Toronto, Canada, on 16 July.

Ferguson's men then play Philadelphia Union, who are making their debut this season in Major League Soccer (MLS), followed by games against Kansas City Wizards and an MLS All-Stars team in Houston.

United will then travel to Mexico to play a friendly against Chivas Guadalajara, from whom they have just signed 22-year-old Javier Hernandez.

Ferguson said he felt football was beginning to get a foothold in the United States, boosted by the national team's showing at the 2010 World Cup finals.

The US reached the last 16 in South Africa before going out to Ghana and the United boss said: "American soccer is starting to make an impact and it is so improved.

"I made that point about the United States team before the World Cup. I said they were going to play like real athletes - the guys are fit, committed, they believe in themselves."

Ferguson added: "American football is that way - they're all fit, athletic, they've got a good feel for the pitch.

"You can see that there is improvement in MLS. I have spoken to many people in the last few months about that and there is a big upsurge."

With Rio Ferdinand still struggling with the knee injury he suffered in training ahead of England's World Cup campaign, Ferguson is clearly worried about players picking up injuries and told the MLS website: "Winning is part of what we have to do here, but the main object is to get everyone game time, come back ready, fit to start the season."



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see also
Hargreaves rocked by new injury
08 Jul 10 |  Man Utd
Chelsea face West Brom in opener
17 Jun 10 |  Premier League
Neville extends Man Utd contract
30 Apr 10 |  Man Utd
Neville questions Capello squad
18 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Neville returns to Man Utd squad
04 Apr 08 |  Man Utd


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