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Speed hits back at claims

Gary Speed has hit back angrily at claims his illustrious playing career could be over as he prepares to undergo surgery on a bulging disc in his back.

The former Wales captain faces going under the knife in the New Year, effectively ruling him out of the rest of Sheffield United’s season and casting doubts over Speed’s playing future.

Conformation of an approach from Swindon Town to make the 39-year-old their next manager further intensified speculation that he may end his five-club playing career and move into management – speculation that Speed, however, has been quick to deny.

“I might have the operation and might not be able to continue, but that’s up to me to say and decide,” Speed said.

“I would like to get back playing. In my own mind, I have pencilled in March.”

Initially, Speed had aimed to make a return to the United squad for the busy Christmas period after damaging his back in the 3-1 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers last month. However Speed, who made 86 appearances for Wales, remains defiant that the latest setback doesn’t spell the end of his 20-year career

“I’ve read in the papers and seen on the TV that my career is over and that’s a bit unfair,” Speed continued.

“I haven’t been too pleased with that because it certainly isn’t the case.

“I want to contribute to Sheffield United this season and if I can do that come the latter end, then that’s great.”

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