27 May 2009

Gary Neville back in England squad

7:27 am on 27 May 2009

The England football coach Fabio Capello has surprisingly named Manchester United's veteran defender Gary Neville in his 24-man squad for World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra.

The 34-year-old Neville, United's club captain, made the last of his 85 England appearances against Spain in 2007 and is no longer a regular first choice at his club after battling with injuries for the last two seasons.

Capello also recalled Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson, who made the last of his 41 international appearances when England lost to Russia in a Euro 2008 qualifier in 2007.

Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermaine Defoe was included after injury kept him out of England's first three internationals of the year.

Capello, however, will be without first-choice goalkeeper David James of Portsmouth and Ben Foster of Manchester United, who are both injured.

Capello will be keeping his fingers crossed that the United, Chelsea and Everton players come through their next matches unscathed.

United face Barcelona in the Champions League final on Thursday morning and Chelsea and Everton meet in the FA Cup final next weekend.

England top Group Six with five successive wins and victories in Kazakhstan and against Andorra at Wembley would virtually seal their place in next year's World Cup finals in South Africa.