Phil Neville relishing Malaga test ahead of Manchester United opener

Toffees will face last season's runners-up in their first Premier League match of the campaign, and the club captain believes their final pre-season contest will prepare them well
Everton captain Phil Neville believes that the challenge posed by Malaga, the Toffees' final friendly opponents, will stand them in good stead ahead of their Premier League opener against Manchester United.

David Moyes' team face the Spanish outfit at lunchtime on Saturday before taking on the Red Devils on August 18.

Neville, a former Red Devils player, is hoping the Malaga match will provide the step up in intensity Everton need before they host United.

"Against AEK Athens we had more energy and you could see that in our play," he told the club's official website. "But Malaga will provide the quality opposition that we need.

"We need a good test going into the season. We have played some decent teams but a sterner test away from home, where we are going to have to concentrate, will stand us in good stead for the Man United game."

Defender Tony Hibbert, meanwhile, does not expect Moyes to give his counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson any hints when it comes to his starting line-up against Malaga.

The right-back did, however, echo his team-mate's thoughts with regards to the importance, in terms of fitness, of the club's last pre-season contest.

"We have still got one more game before Man United and some of the lads still need to get a game under the belts.

"We are still working on our sharpness but I think we are getting closer.

"I don't think the manager will play his starting line-up against Malaga, it'll be trying to get the fitness up to a proper Premier League standard. Malaga will give us a chance to do that."