Gary Neville played his last game for United in March last year, after a collision with Bolton’s Gary Speed forced Neville off the pitch early in the first half. Since then, we have been let down time and again in regards to when he will return, with further injuries delaying his come back.
It is without doubt that we have missed Neville’s leadership on the field, with Ryan Giggs acting as a poor replacement as captain. With times getting tough for United, relying on an injury time goal to scrape a point at White Hart Lane, and losing to City at Old Trafford, we are getting more and more desperate for the ‘never say die’ attitude Neville instils in our players on the field.
With fears of the possibility that Neville will never return to the first team, he has spoken out today insisting that he will be back soon. “The fact I’ve been out for so long brings about speculation regarding whether or not I’ll make it back. I understand that,” Neville said. “Ironically my ankle has been okay for the last couple of months, I’ve just picked up little knocks here and there that have lasted a couple of weeks or so; 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 put a timescale on it or 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 okay.”
Neville turns 33 next week, putting more pressure on our captain. After going close to a year with no football, the difficulty of not only returning to football, but returning at a level high enough to compete in the first team, is unmeasurable. However, we can’t forget what desire and determination did for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s career, who came back against all odds aged 33 and had a blinding season for United, scoring 11 goals for us in a season where we were crowned Champions. If Solskjaer’s commitment to the club can be matched and beaten by any player at Old Trafford, it is certainly Gary Neville, but I’m sure I’m not alone in getting tired of playing the waiting game.
Do you think Neville still has a future at United?
Made in Manchester is available for just £5. It includes 30 articles from the country's best football writers about graduates from the Manchester United academy. Everyone who buys a copy enters a competition to win the new home shirt. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.