Ferdinand to miss start of season with knee injury

Rio Ferdinand will miss Manchester United's first three Premier League games, as well as England's European Championship qualifiers with Bulgaria and Switzerland in September, due to the knee problem that kept him out of the World Cup.

Ferdinand had hoped to start the season but will miss another six weeks after Sir Alex Ferguson, the United manager, confirmed the defender had sustained ligament damage. There is little prospect of Ferguson allowing his key centre-back to join up with England before he is fully fit, meaning he is likely to return for his club at Everton on 12 September.

United denied suggestions that Ferdinand faced a considerable spell on the sidelines earlier this summer, insisting he was in the running to face Newcastle in their opening Premier League game, but Ferguson is sure to tread cautiously with a player who has been hampered by injury for the last 18 months.

Ferdinand, who is now an avid user of Twitter, has insisted there is nothing sinister in the setback as he begins his rehabilitation. He Tweeted yesterday: "Six weeks and I'll be playing again. At the start of rehab we put dates on these injury comebacks but sometimes the goalposts move a bit."

Ferguson has also revealed that striker Michael Owen will miss the start of the season as he battles back from a hamstring problem sustained in the Carling Cup final in February.

Defender Gary Neville is training again at United's Carrington centre after a calf problem ruled him out of the pre-season trip to the United States – where United faced Kansas City Wizards last night – and he was set to be joined today by winger Antonio Valencia, who has also been struggling with a calf injury. Midfielder Owen Hargreaves will remain in the United States, where he is receiving treatment for his long-running tendinitis problem and fellow midfielder Anderson is on course to return from an Achilles injury in September.

Ferguson insists he had little choice but to be vague about the future of Nemanja Vidic last week, just hours before it was announced that the Serbian defender had agreed a new four-year contract. The United manager claimed he could give no guarantees about the centre-half's future, with two years to run on his previous deal and Real Madrid said to be interested. But following another summer of limited transfer activity, Ferguson is clearly overjoyed at securing Vidic, who joined from Spartak Moscow in 2006, until 2014.

"In the modern-day game it is not easy renewing players' contracts when they do well, particularly those from other countries," Ferguson said. "Over the last year or so there has been speculation about Nemanja time and time again, sometimes by the press, sometimes fuelled by other sources.

"But we never had a strong feeling he really wanted to leave. There is always concern; if they do well they want better contracts. At the end of the day we have managed to achieve the task of getting him to agree a four-year contract."

Ferguson added: "We are delighted. He is a fantastic centre-half, a great competitor with a marvellous attitude to winning games. It strengthens our hand."

PROMOTED VIDEO
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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee