Neville signs United contract extension
© AFP

Long-serving Manchester United defender Gary Neville has signed a new one-year contract extension with the Premier League leaders on Friday.

Neville has been rewarded for breaking back into the United line-up this season after 18 months on the sidelines with a series of injury problems.

The deal is the perfect belated birthday present for Neville, a life-long United fan, who turned 34 on Wednesday. "Manchester United is the only club I have ever wanted to play for so I am delighted to have signed for another year," said Neville.

Neville made his United debut as teenager in 1992 after emerging from the same youth team as his brother Phil, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt.

Gary, Ryan and Paul (Scholes) are the spirit of Manchester United and so we are delighted that Gary has signed for another year.
Sir Alex Ferguson on Gary Neville.

The England right-back has often captained United during a 17-year stay at Old Trafford that includes 565 appearances, seven Premier League winners' medals, three FA Cup successes and two UEFA Champions League triumphs.

Although he has to compete with Brazilian youngster Rafael da Silva and Wes Brown for a first-team spot, Neville has managed to convince United boss Sir Alex Ferguson he still has plenty to offer.

Neville is the latest senior United star to be given a new contract after Ryan Giggs also signed a one-year extension recently.

"Gary, Ryan and Paul (Scholes) are the spirit of Manchester United and so we are delighted that Gary has signed for another year," Ferguson told United's website.

"Gary is a true professional and I admire how he has overcome an injury which kept him out for over a year, returning as good as ever. He deserves this new contract and we are very happy to have him here."