Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley ruled out until Christmas

 

Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley will be out of action until Christmas with ankle ligament damage.

Cleverley suffered the injury at Everton last month, which was his first game back after sustaining a foot problem at Bolton.

And although Ferguson initially felt the injury was not too serious, he has now admitted it is worse than he imagined.

"It is pretty long term," said Ferguson. "(He will be out until) Christmas time.

"It is unfortunate. It is worse than we thought.

"When he first came off against Everton he reported it as just a tightness, with a bit of pain.

"We have done scans again and the injury has recurred.

"We will have to give him a break."

Ferguson reported similar bad news about Michael Owen, who is set to be out for the same period of time with the thigh injury he sustained in the home Champions League win over Otelul Galati.

In addition, United will be without England striker Danny Welbeck for tomorrow's trip to Swansea as he has failed to recover from the muscle strain that forced him back from international duty before Tuesday's win over Sweden.

Chris Smalling also remains sidelined, although it is hoped the defender will be back for Tuesday's Champions League encounter with Benfica at Old Trafford.

Darron Gibson and Rafael de Silva are both available for United's trip to the Liberty Stadium, along with Ashley Young, who has recovered from a toe injury.

PA

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