Ferdinand set to be fit for start of season after rapid recovery
Tuesday 06 July 2010
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.
Latest in Sport
Manny Pacquiao secures $12.5m mansion by giving seller four tickets to 2 May fight with Floyd Mayweather
WWE WrestleMania 31: What time does it start? Full match card and preview ahead of event
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
Manchester United transfer news: Chris Smalling and Phil Jones face uncertain future with contract renewal talks on hold
New Zealand vs Australia - Cricket World Cup Final preview: Kiwis must bridge a gulf to take world crown
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans