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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

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Neville: Owen the ideal replacement for Tevez

Gary Neville says Michael Owen is the ideal player to replace Carlos Tevez, who looks set for rivals Manchester City.

Sir Alex Ferguson snapped Owen up on a free transfer after the 29-year-old's disappointing spell at Newcastle.

And Neville, United's club captain, says Owen will repay Ferguson's faith in goals: "He (Owen) is at Manchester United because the gaffer believes he can score goals," he told Goal.com. "He is ideal now Carlos Tevez is gone."

"He has an opportunity to play at the highest level, at one of the biggest clubs in the world and of course, possibly regain his England place - but that will be at the discretion of the manager."

While Owen's international future is grabbing the headlines, Neville's own England ambitions were reignited by a shock recall to Fabio Capello's squad for the end of season World Cup qualifiers.

But the 34-year-old insists thoughts of playing in South Africa next summer haven't entered his head just yet. "At this moment, I'm just thinking about playing in every single game that I can. I've missed too many England games over the past few years," he said. "But the most important thing is helping England qualify for the World Cup.

"We have taken it for granted that we've been there at almost every major tournament. We seem to have a feeling in this country of, 'Oh, quarter-finals, it's a disgrace, we've got to get past that,' and yes, we do have to get past that. But first things first, we've got to qualify, and it's hard work qualifying.

"Traditionally, we have tended to play in a more rigid system, but the boss has developed a more flexible and fluid team and the players are thriving."

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