Birthday boy Neuer runs laps as World Cup comeback bid continues

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The World Cup is due to start in Russia in June, and the Germany No.1 still has a chance of being there as his rehabilitation continued on Tuesday

Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer has started running laps outside on his 32nd birthday as the Germany goalkeeper seeks to return to full fitness ahead of the World Cup.

Neuer has been sidelined since September after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured foot, and there had been concerns the former Schalke man would not be back in action this season.

The shot-stopper, noted for his comfort on the ball and his ability to act as an additional defender by taking up an advanced position when his team are in possession, was an important part of the Germany team that won the World Cup in Brazil four years ago.

Should he be passed fit, Neuer remains likely to start when Joachim Low's team attempt to defend their crown in Russia.

And Bayern announced on Tuesday the club captain has completed two 10-minute sessions of running outside, under the watchful eye of fitness coach Thomas Wilhelmi.

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Neuer revealed recently that his rehabilitation has been "emotional" after he was able to start running again, but admitted he is still in the dark over when he can return to action .

Sven Ulreich has deputised between the posts for Bayern this season, while Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen is likely to start for Germany if Neuer does not recover in time.

Bernd Leno and Kevin Trapp of Bayer Leverkusen and Paris Saint-Germain respectively are among the other options at Low's disposal.