Neville nears return
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Neville has been sidelined since the spring with a broken bone in his foot and stepped up his rehabilitation with a run out against Liverpool's reserves on Thursday evening.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is delaying a decision on whether Neville will start against Spurs as he is also sweating on the fitness of key midfielder Nicky Butt.
But Ferguson is confident the full back will be ready to figure in Tuesday's Champions League tussle against Bayer Leverkusen - ironically, the team Neville suffered the injury against.
"Gary played 70 minutes last night (Thursday), he did very well. He's getting nearer all the time," said Ferguson.
"Whether he'll start tomorrow depends on how fit Nicky Butt is, he's still not 100 percent. He should definitely be fit for Tuesday.
"Gary's got a character that exemplifies a lot of what Manchester United have achieved over the years. He's a true winner, a determined lad who has made a great career for himself through his determination and desire to play.
"And when these players are not in your squad, you miss them. Now he's back in the squad we can all listen to his moaning! He'll be a breath of fresh air."
Meanwhile, The Red Devils' new Spanish recruit Ricardo revealed the encouragement goalkeeping rival Fabien Barthez gave him as he made his United debut on Wednesday.
Ricardo replaced Barthez for the latter stages of the 5-2 triumph over Maccabi Haifa and is ready to contest the Frenchman for the number one spot.
The former Valladolid shot-stopper also offered his support to Barthez, who has received flak for his performances in recent months.
"He said to me 'Vamos, cabron'," said Ricardo. "It was an affectionate way to wish me luck. He knows Spanish and he wanted to animate that to me.
"It is very difficult to always play at a great level. Barthez is one of the best keepers in the world. His CV says it all.
"He has just recovered from injury and is perhaps not yet 100 percent."