Robson backs Neville to return to England fold

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The Independent Football

Bryan Robson has backed Gary Neville to make a return to the England squad after last season's injury problems.

Neville missed most of last term with an ankle ligament injury that he picked up towards the end of the previous campaign but is now back in action for United after 18 months out.

He has made five appearances for the club this season and had been tipped to be recalled by England manager Fabio Capello for the Three Lions' upcoming fixtures against Kazakhstan and Belarus.

The Italian, however, overlooked Neville and opted for team-mate Wes Brown and Portsmouth right-back Glen Johnson instead when he named his squad for the matches yesterday.

But United's former 'Captain Marvel' firmly believes the club's current captain, 33, will add to the 85 caps he has amassed during his 13-year international career.

Robson told PA Sport: "I'm sure that Gary will be involved with England again. When you get quite a serious injury as he has it nearly always affects you and you get other injury niggles which Gary has had unfortunately.

"I still don't think that will affect him as far as getting back in the England reckoning though.

"He's definitely got time to come back. You never know in this game.

"We have some decent full-backs now but people can get injured and suspended and I'm sure Gary will be there to step in if that happens."

Capello's men will take on Kazakhstan in front of a sell-out 90,000 crowd at Wembley on Saturday and former West Brom boss Robson believes Neville's United team-mate Wayne Rooney will be a crucial figure in the game.

The Manchester United striker's participation had been in doubt after he picked up an injury in the club's Champions League match with Danish side Aalborg last week.

Rooney's injury was not as bad as first feared, however, and he will now be available for England after returning for United to score in his side's win at Ewood Park at the weekend.

"I think it's very important for both Wayne and England that he's back," said Robson.

"A lot of people were criticising him at the start of the season, but he was just out of form. Wayne is one of those people that needs to be playing week in, week out.

"Once he gets going you get the form we see now. He's back to his best now - the last couple of games he's looked really sharp."

Robson was speaking ahead of an England v Republic of Ireland legends match in which he will take part on Thursday.

The game will take place at Fulham's Craven Cottage ground and tickets are still available for the match. Details can be found at