Alex Ferguson enthused by Antonio Valencia return

Sir Alex Ferguson has hailed Antonio Valencia's return to Manchester United first-team action.

The Ecuador wide-man has been out of action since September, when he suffered a serious ankle injury during a Champions League encounter with Rangers.

But the 25-year-old has battled back to fitness, making an immediate impact against Marseille a fortnight ago when he helped United to the win that secured an eagerly-awaited quarter-final clash with Chelsea.

And Ferguson is confident the former Wigan star - who featured for 75 minutes in his country's 2-0 defeat by Colombia in Madrid on Tuesday - can have a huge impact in the final decisive weeks of the campaign.

"Antonio has showed in the parts of the games he's played so far why we've missed him," Ferguson told Inside United.

"He is a fantastic footballer. He came on at the right time against Marseille because Nani was starting to wilt a bit after his injury.

"His ability to get to the dead ball line is a big advantage to us and his football brain was there for all to see when he made Javier Hernandez's second goal against Marseille. His pass to Ryan Giggs was fantastic.

"It is a big plus point. Having both Antonio and Nani is a big boost for us."