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Friday, 3 May, 2002, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Neville out of World Cup
Gary Neville injures his foot in a tackle on Ze Roberto
Neville broke his foot in this tackle on Ze Roberto

Injured defender Gary Neville has ruled himself out of the England's World Cup campaign this summer.

The Manchester United right-back has conceded that he will not recover in time from his broken foot to be fit for the start of the World Cup finals.

He broke the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot during United's Champions League semi-final first leg against Bayer Leverkusen on 24 April.

Gary Neville
Facts and figures
Age: 27
Caps: 52
Debut: 06/95 v Japan
Honours: Premier League 96, 97, 99, 00, 01
FA Cup: 96, 99
Champs League: 99

Neville, 27, was given the bad news following a meeting with United's medical staff and the club's orthopaedic consultant.

His injury was similar to the one suffered by England captain David Beckham.

Neville said: "It's been touted for the last week or so that I wouldn't be fit but I never ruled myself out because I always held a little hope, even though the chances were slim.

"But having discussed it with other people at the club, it's been decided I won't be fit in time to play the first match.

"I'm disappointed but it's something I've come to terms with pretty quickly. It's something I can't do anything about."

David Beckham watches Man Utd from the stands on Wednesday
David Beckham also broke a metatarsal
Neville's absence is a major blow to England's preparations for the World Cup finals in Korea and Japan which start on 31 May.

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, who will name his 23-man squad next Thursday, will now have to re-think his plans.

"It has happened too late, I guess. All we can do is wish Gary all the best for a full and speedy recovery," said Eriksson.

The England boss, in a statement released by the FA, added: "This is a cruel blow not only for Gary Neville but also for England.

"Gary is not just a very good football player but he has also been a loyal member of the team. I feel very sorry for him.

"Competing at a World Cup is the pinnacle of any player's career and there are not that many opportunities to take part in the finals.

"For Gary to lose out at this time is obviously a huge disappointment to us all."

Danny Mills, Owen Hargreaves, Jamie Carragher and Phil Neville are now competing for the right-back position in England's World Cup squad.

Manchester United defender Wes Brown could also come into the reckoning.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Steve Wilson
"This presents England with a real problem"
Gary Neville
"It's something I've come to terms with"
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GROUP F
  P GD PTS
SWEDEN 3 +1 5
ENGLAND 3 +1 5
ARGENTINA 3 0 4
NIGERIA 3 -2 1

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