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Surprised Neville raring to make England return

© Reuters 2002

BISHAM ABBEY, England, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Gary Neville says he is pleasantly surprised to be back in the England squad so soon after his foot injury but does not expect to walk straight into the team for Saturday's European championship qualifier against Slovakia.

Neville, a regular choice at right back in recent seasons, broke a bone in his foot on the eve of the FIFA World Cup" in June and missed England's run to the quarter-finals in Japan.

He has only just returned to first-team action for Manchester United but England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has hinted he may throw Neville in from the start in Bratislava and four days later against Macedonia in Southampton, despite the solid form of replacement Danny Mills.

"I've only played a couple of games for United," Neville told reporters at England's training camp.

"If you'd asked me this time last week, prior to the Olympiakos (Champions League game), I think I said these two England games were a million miles away because obviously I've not played for such a long time.

"But I'm delighted to be here and looking forward to training with the team over the next week."

Neville, capped 52 times by England, played down talk of a rivalry with Leeds United right back Mills, an impressive performer during the FIFA World Cup" who has made the right back slot his own in Neville's absence.

"I thought he did as well as everybody else (at the FIFA World Cup")," Neville said diplomatically. "I thought they all did well.

"It's not a case of me thinking I should be back in, that's out of my hands. It's down to the manager whether he wants me straight back in.

As I said, I was pleasantly surprised when the squad was announced on Sunday and I saw I was in.

"It's not down to me it's down to Sven-Goran Eriksson. All I can do is try to impress him. I'm not the England manager, Sven-Goran Eriksson is and whether I play is down to Sven and (Manchester United manager) Alex Ferguson. it doesn't matter what the rest of us think.

"I've got to go along with it. It's a case of if you are in the team you do your very best, if you're not in the team you get behind the lads who are in the team. That's the way it's always been."

Reports provided by

Thursday, 17 October
England held to shock draw by Macedonia
Henry inspires France to 4-0 win over Malta
Superior Dutch sweep Austria aside
Faroese jubilant despite defeat by Germany
Pressure mounts on beleaguered Trapattoni
Mozambican coach resigns after 3-0 defeat
Ballack shines through in dull German display
Gunes unconcerned by Tugay retirement speculation
Japan coach Zico set to stand by Nakamura
Czech Republic 3 Belarus 0 - Euro under-21 result
Greece back in the hunt, says Rehhagel
Wednesday, 16 October
Eriksson wary of Macedonia threat
Tuesday, 15 October
Lizarazu vows to keep playing for France until Euro 2004
Rehhagel position 'not an issue' says Greek federation
Cyprus angered by UEFA treatment
France at full strength to take on Malta
France set to continue renaissance but Italy look shaky
Monday, 14 October
New faces in Poland squad for New Zealand friendly
Balakov doubtful for Bulgaria qualifier against Andorra
Yugoslav press praise impressive 1-1 draw in Naples
Inzaghi to miss clash with Wales
I won't quit says Italy coach Trapattoni
Croatia coach Baric called on to step down
Cyprus objects to postponement of Israel game
Dumitrescu quits as Romanian under-21 coach
McCarthy says he will quit after Euro 2004
N. Korean 1966 World Cup team revisit the past
Gambia hit Lesotho for six in African Nations Cup
Sunday, 13 October
Sidibe scores on debut for Mali
Burkina Faso come from behind to win
Adebayor secures 1-0 win for Togo
Austria prepare shock for the Netherlands
Lua Lua sent off after scoring in Congo win over Botswana
Swaziland beat Libya in dramatic finish to Cup qualifier
South Africa fall short of goal target in 2-0 victory
UEFA to probe Slovakia-England match trouble
France boost morale with badly-needed victory
Macedonia coach in quit threat
Saez delighted with Spain's flying start to qualifiers
Trapattoni attacked for Italy's lacklustre draw
Eriksson looks for England improvement against Macedonia
Friday, 11 October
UEFA punishes clubs for racist abuse
I deserve respect not criticism, says 100-cap Desailly
Kahn should not quit, Germany chief says
Czech police issue warning about English hooligans
Massive Maltese security operation for Israel visit
England bank on winning start in Slovakia
Argentina's Gorosito begins coaching career
World Cup winners Brazil still in limbo
German coach facing heat over coaching Iraq

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