FOOTBALL NEWS

"Pre-season is hugely important for every player but this time it's massive for me. I need to get a good pre-season under my belt."

- Gary Neville

See the full interview with Gary on MUTV, Tuesday 1 July at 19:30 BST.
28/06/2008 08:12, Report by Adam Bostock

Neville eyes battle with Wes

Gary Neville is braced for the most important pre-season of his United career.

The defender not only has to prove his fitness after missing almost the entire 2007/08 campaign, he also to oust the man who replaced him as the Reds' regular right-back.

"I've got a number of challenges ahead of me and the ultimate one is to try and get back into that team ahead of Wes (Brown)," said Gary, in an exclusive interview with MUTV.

"That's going to be hard for me given the way Wes performed last season. I would say he was in our top two or three most consistent players. He was fantastic throughout the season and deserved all the success he got.

"I can talk about my injuries and being out for 12 months, but Wes has had two cruciate ligament injuries and been out for 12 months twice. I know now where he was during those years and I appreciate how difficult it is. And even though Wes is younger than me, he is a great example to me of how you come back into the team after an injury."

Neville's bid to get back into the team starts on Wednesday when the Reds reconvene at Carrington, initially without the men who represented their countries at Euro 2008.

"Pre-season is hugely important for every player but this time it's massive for me as I try to break into a team that's won the Double," said Gary. "And it's an even greater challenge than normal for the team as we try to repeat the success of last season."

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