Everton captain Phil Neville has declared himself fit and available for selection to face Newcastle United on Saturday after an ‘important 90 minutes’ in the reserves' 1-0 defeat to West Ham United.
Neville hasn't played since the Toffees' opening day defeat to Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, but appeared for the second string alongside the likes of Yakubu, Jermaine Beckford and Seamus Coleman on Tuesday afternoon.
The former Manchester United man told evertontv that he is now over his foot injury and desperate to play as the Blues hunt their first Premier League win of the season.
"I think it was important that I played,” said Neville. “I'm glad to get 90 minutes under my belt and I'm ready to play against Newcastle on Saturday.
“It's so important (to play) as you can train as hard as you want but 90 minutes against West Ham, who played a strong team, is like money in the bank."
“Yak and Becks have played, and Seamus has got another game under his belt as well. We're all prepared for Saturday and it is a big game for us."
There are suggestions that reserve team football may be a dying form of the game, but Neville believes it still has a crucial role to play in English football.
"I think there is a fallacy that it's not good for first team players to play in reserve games,” he added.
“But it is great experience for the younger players you are playing with, and the younger players that you are playing against. On a personal note I've been out for three-and-a-half weeks now so it's got me 90 minutes.
“I'm fit to play on Saturday. There's no excuse from the manager or from myself that I'm not match fit. I'm fit and I'm ready to play."
Neville lined up for Everton alongside a number of young players including his central midfield partner, 16-year-old Ross Barkley.
And Neville, who has been capped 59 times by England, says these type of occasions can provide invaluable experience for youngsters making their way in the game.
“I think they can learn from the more experienced players, but I think you get out of it what you put into it,” Neville added.
“It's so important that you show the right attitude and the right drive and determination. I think the senior players showed that in the game."