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Mikael Silvestre's United record

Joined: 9 September 1999
Debut: Liverpool 2-3 United,
11 September 1999

Games: 361
Goals: 10

Left: Summer 2008 (to Arsenal)

12/10/2012 10:33, Report by Mark Froggatt
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Silvestre explains return

Mikael Silvestre has revealed the motive behind his return to training at Manchester United - his aim to sign for another Barclays Premier League club.

The French defender, who spent nine trophy-laden seasons with the Reds from 1999 to 2008, is currently a free agent after his contract with German side Werder Bremen expired in the summer. Sir Alex Ferguson invited Silvestre back to Carrington, to help him maintain his fitness as he seeks a fresh challenge.

“I am back here to train,” Mikael told MUTV and ManUtd.com. “I came a few weeks ago and had a chat with the gaffer just before the Capital One Cup game. I said I was coming back to Manchester until Christmas and he said, 'Come and train and stay fit until you move to somewhere else'.

“When you are training with the lads you feel like you are still capable of playing in the Premier League. I am fit, that is the main point, and I still have the hunger for the game. So this level is still the level that I am targeting.

“I have always kept in touch with the club and I almost know everybody here still. There have been some changes in my four years away but there is also a lot of continuity within this club."

A veteran of over 350 appearances as a versatile United defender, Silvestre is perfectly qualified to cast an eye over the left-back berth. The Frenchman believes the recent acquisition of  Alexander Büttner should inspire competition for places with his compatriot Patrice Evra.

“I only saw the highlights of the game when Alex started and scored [against Wigan Athletic]. It doesn’t get better than starting at Old Trafford and scoring a goal," said Silvestre.

"Patrice has been there and has been solid in this role, but there hasn’t been any cover for him so he has played a lot of games for United and France. That has demanded a lot of Patrice and it is important to keep the players on their toes

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