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Neville fitness hope.

Gary Neville will step up his training today in a bid to play some further part for England in the World Cup finals.

The Manchester United right-back has been sidelined since suffering a calf injury eight days ago during the final training session for the clash with Trinidad and Tobago.

A scan yesterday showed the injury has improved significantly but it is unlikely that Neville will be risked in Sunday's second-round clash with Ecuador in Stuttgart.

Neville was dogged by hamstring problems in the build-up to the World Cup and, although he played in the opener against Paraguay, he was below par. Jamie Carragher has deputised for the last two games.

Central defender Rio Ferdinand should be available for the last-16 encounter though, after a scan showed no damage to his groin following his early substitution against Sweden.

It was a welcome tonic for England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson following losing Michael Owen with a knee injury after a minute against the Swedes.

The Football Association's Middlesbrough-born director of communications, Adrian Bevington, said: "Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville had injuries scanned on Wednesday at the team's base camp in Baden-Baden. Both scans provided positive news.

The players were given yesterday off after arriving back in Baden-Baden in the early hours after the Sweden game.
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Title Annotation:Sport Football
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jun 22, 2006
Words:213
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