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Neville holds talks on Old Trafford future as Giggs made 'freeman'

Gary Neville will hold talks with Manchester United at the end of this month to resolve his future as a player.

Persistent injuries have restricted the 34-year-old's appearances for United and England in recent seasons, raising questions over the right back's longevity, but the London Times understands that no decision has been taken over when he will retire.

Neville, a United player since 1993 and holder of 85 England caps, is out of contract at the end of the season and has yet to be offered a new deal at Old Trafford.

United star Ryan Giggs will be honoured with the freedom of the city of Salford today.

The winger, who is the current PFA Player of the Year and BBC Sports Personality of the Year, will receive the honour at a ceremony in his adopted home town this afternoon.

Giggs, 36, will join an illustrious list of previous recipients, including Nelson Mandela and LS Lowry.

Although born in Cardiff and starring many times for Wales, Giggs has for many years lived in the Worsley area of Salford after signing for United as a schoolboy.

Giggs switched to the club while training with Manchester City after a personal visit to his home by Alex Ferguson on his 14th birthday.

He has now played more times for the club and won more honours than any other player in United's illustrious history.

He is also the only player to have scored in every Premier League season after debuting against Everton in March 1991.

A formal presentation of the award will take place as part of a civic ceremony at The Lowry arts centre on Salford Quays.

Councillor John Warmisham said it was "a privilege and a pleasure" to nominate Giggs.

"Ryan is a role model to young people and a proud ambassador of the city," Warmisham said.

"He is the ideal candidate for freedom of the city. He does tremendous work for Unicef in relation to children and other charities and has never forgotten his Salford roots."

Mayor of Salford Councillor Roger Lightup added: "I'm delighted we are able to honour one of our residents in this way."

Citizens made freemen gain no real privileges today but they do receive a scroll to mark their status and the pride the city has in them.

The medieval term 'freeman' meant someone who was not the property of a feudal lord, but enjoyed privileges such as the right to earn money and own land.

Neville and Giggs' former United team-mate Nicky Butt is also considering his long-term future after admitting that this season could be his last as a player.

The 34-year-old Newcastle United midfield player has appeared in 14 games in all competitions this season, about half his club's fixtures, and has six months remaining on his contract at the Championship club.


"I know I haven't got much longer left, so I just want to enjoy playing the game while I can," he said. "I haven't made any decisions about my future yet. I'm signed until the summer and I'll see how I feel then."

Should Newcastle, who lead the division by six points, be promoted, Butt may no longer feel equipped for the rigours of the Premier League, although his experience and leadership have been invaluable to Chris Hughton, the manager.

Those qualities mark him down as a potential candidate for a possible coaching role at Newcastle, an idea that has been discussed within the club. Despite the financial constraints at St James's Park that have kept Newcastle's backroom staff small, there could be a position for Butt in the event of promotion.

For their part, the club are unlikely to extend his £50,000-a-week deal until there is clarity regarding their league status for next season.

Hughton was disappointed in the transfer market yesterday when Matt Kilgallon, a target to bolster the Newcastle defence, decided to see out his contract, which expires in the summer, at Sheffield United.