Ferdinand set to be fit for start of season after rapid recovery

Rio Ferdinand is likely to start the season with Manchester United after making a quicker-than-expected recovery from the knee injury that forced him out of the World Cup. United confirmed yesterday that Ferdinand would be ready to play again 10 weeks after sustaining the injury in England's first training session of their disastrous World Cup campaign. That would put him in line to play the opening fixture against Newcastle at Old Trafford or away to Fulham the weekend after.

The man who is still nominally England captain described his last season, in which he started just 19 matches, as "the worst of my career". Given England's need for new blood, his international position is not certain and there have been signs that his club manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has been hunting around for cover in central defence.

Ferdinand's usual partner at United, Nemanja Vidic, has yet to give any clear assurances on whether he intends to remain in Manchester, especially given the interest shown in him by Jose Mourinho's new regime at Real Madrid and his wife's reported desire to move to Spain. However, while United possess excellent cover in the shape of 22-year-old Jonny Evans, Ferdinand's injury record at 31 is a cause for concern, hence the signing of Fulham's Chris Smalling and Ferguson's interest in Bolton's Gary Cahill.

The former was not a regular starter at Craven Cottage but Cahill's manager, Owen Coyle, described his player as the best centre-half in England and recommended, without success, that the England manager, Fabio Capello, take him to South Africa. At 24, Cahill is the right age to fit in with Ferguson's policy of only bringing young footballers to Old Trafford and, at £15m, is likely to be affordable.

Ferdinand is unlikely to feature on Manchester United's American tour, which starts three days after a World Cup final that – before a tackle with Emile Heskey in training – he had hoped to lead his country into.

Ferguson has said that nobody from the club who took part in the World Cup will travel on the five-date tour, which would rule out Patrice Evra, Vidic, Wayne Rooney and probably Nani, who was sent home by Portugal after suffering from what purported to be a shoulder injury, although there had been speculation that there were disciplinary reasons.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border