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By ESPN Staff
Feb 9, 2007

Heinze distances himself from summer exit talk

Gabriel Heinze insists he is still happy with life at Manchester United.

After a sparkling debut season with the Old Trafford outfit, Heinze missed virtually all of last term after rupturing cruciate ligaments in a Champions League tie against Villarreal.

Although the 28-year-old Argentina full-back recovered his fitness in time to appear for his country in the World Cup, the effort required to push himself to play in the summer meant he was not in good shape when he returned to United for pre-season training.

Since then, Heinze has struggled to oust Patrice Evra, with most of his 19 appearances this term coming from the bench.

A number of clubs, notably Juventus, have expressed an interest in the player, with most pundits feeling Heinze will leave at the end of the season.

However, the tough-tackling defender has confirmed he harbours no immediate desire to quit.

'I don't really take any interest in what is being said,' Heinze told MUTV.

'The only two people who matter are myself and the manager. If there is no desire on either of our parts for me to leave, that is great.

'All I am concentrating on are the next three months, so I can fight as hard as I can to get in the side and do as much as I can for Manchester United.'

After making just two substitute appearances so far in 2007, Heinze will be hopeful of being in Sir Alex Ferguson's line-up for tomorrow's Premiership encounter with relegation-threatened Charlton.

United have won 15 out of their 17 meetings with the Addicks since their last defeat - in 1989 - and victory tomorrow would complete a fifth successive Premiership double over Alan Pardew's men.

Of far more importance to Ferguson and his team, it would also consolidate a six-point lead over Chelsea at the top of the table.

As ever on international weeks, the United manager will hope his squad returns from their various commitments in tact.

Wayne Rooney is expected to have recovered from the ankle injury that kept him out of England's defeat to Spain but one change from the side which beat Tottenham is inevitable now goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has confirmed he will be out for a fortnight with a broken nose.

Tomasz Kuszczak is the automatic replacement, the Poland international set to make only his third Premiership start since signing from West Brom in the summer.