Hargreaves and Ferdinand to miss start of the season

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The Independent Football

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed Owen Hargreaves will miss the start of the season after suffering another setback following a series of knee problems.

The Manchester United midfielder made only one substitute appearance in the last campaign after an 18-month absence through injury. It had been hoped that he could join United on their summer tour – they leave for the US on Monday – but instead he is having further treatment. Ferguson said: "The bad news is that Owen Hargreaves is back in America seeing a specialist. He will not be ready for the start of the season. I do not know when he will be back."

Ferguson also fears Rio Ferdinand will not be ready for the first game of the season against Newcastle. The England defender suffered a knee injury in training ahead of the World Cup and was unable to play in South Africa.

Ferguson said: "Rio will probably not make the start of the season. It will be close. It depends on his progress over the next few weeks."

While Ferguson is pleased with Michael Owen's progress following a hamstring injury, the striker will skip the tour as he builds up his fitness.