Anderson backs Neville for smooth Man Utd return

Former Manchester United and Arsenal defender Viv Anderson is backing Gary Neville to make a smooth return to first team action.

Neville played - and scored - for United reserves last night against Everton and Anderson told the Manchester Evening News: "Naturally there will be doubters after a player has been out for 10 months.

"You can understand that and I wouldn't be surprised if Gary himself harboured a few private moments of concern. But everything appears to have been done right and I actually think that, when he's got the necessary reserve matches under his belt and is ready for the first team, it will be like United getting a new player.

"Gary has gone down the route of training, training and more training. He wants to make sure he is physically 100 per cent before attempting match action. He has the best medical facilities at Carrington, the best medical staff and advice a player could have so there should be no worries about him going about it in the right way.

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"I am sure he is now as fit as he can be from training ground sessions.

"Now comes the next test. A match is a different thing altogether. In training you safeguard yourself a bit. You are among colleagues who know what you have been through for all those months and all those hours in the gym. But once in a proper game the tackles fly in differently. Opponents don't have the same concern or thought about how tough you've had it.

"I have been in that position myself and it is a different proposition. But I think he will be fully prepared and I expect this in time to prove to be just a hiccup in Gary's long career.

"I think it can ensure that he plays to an even older age. You see Ryan Giggs still chasing around like a two-year-old and he's 34 now.

"He's a great pro with a great attitude. But I think the number of times he's spent out with hamstring problems over the years is probably helping him play now and beyond his mid-30s. I put Gary in the same category as Ryan."

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