Neville insists he will return despite year of frustration

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The Independent Football

Rumours of Gary Neville's demise are premature, the Manchester United captain insisted yesterday, maintaining that he will eventually return to action despite his injury problems.

Neville, 32, has not played a competitive first-team game for United since he damaged ankle ligaments in the game against Bolton last March, with a succession of smaller injuries frustrating him in his attempts to get back into the United side, as well as fighting off the likes of Micah Richards in the England team.

Even though it is almost 11 months since his last game, and rumours of his imminent retirement have been circulating, Neville is adamant that his career is far from over.

"The fact I've been out for so long brings about speculation regarding whether or not I'll make it back. I understand that," he said. "Ironically my ankle has been OK for the last couple of months – I've just picked up little knocks here and there. They can really set you back when you've been out for so long.

"I'm training again and I am focused on getting fit. I'm not going to name a game when I'll be back. Once I get fit, and I'm doing the best I can to get to that point, I've no doubts I'll be OK."

United's club secretary Ken Ramsden, meanwhile, hailed the "impeccable" behaviour of Manchester City fans after the silence to remember the victims of the Munich air disaster was perfectly observed inside Old Trafford on Sunday.

He said: "Manchester came together and that for us was wonderful. When the City fans left the stadium [after watching their side win 2-1] they left singing 'we are impeccable' and I couldn't agree more.

"It only takes one or two people out of 76,000 so it could have easily gone wrong, but I think the fact that it didn't is a great tribute to both clubs and particularly Manchester City."