Park Ji-sung set for new Manchester United deal

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The Independent Football

Midfielder Park Ji-sung is confident his Manchester United performances will improve because he has quit international football.

Sir Alex Ferguson revealed last night Park is likely to sign a two-year contract extension, having emerged as a central component in the Red Devils' plans.

Ferguson has never doubted Park's ability but the energetic midfielder's United career is littered with injuries.

The Red Devils chief always felt Park's frequent journeys back to South Korea were a factor and now he is no longer compelled to make them, the 30-year-old is hoping for a positive spin-off.

"My fitness levels do get affected when I travel so much and play extra games," he said.

"Now I have finished playing for my country, I hope to get more rest, not suffer any injuries and enjoy the season."

Ferguson will hope so too, especially if he fails to get a replacement for Paul Scholes.

Park has overcome early cynicism over the reasons behind United's decision to sign him and proved his worth on countless occasions, especially in big games.

Now, it seems, that industry will be rewarded.

"We have offered him a new contract and I am sure he will sign it," said Ferguson.

"His career at United has been nothing but excellent. He is a tremendous professional.

"I am sure he will accept the new offer and tie himself down at the club for the next two years."

Ferguson also confirmed he expects Darren Fletcher to be part of his squad again by the time United return to England on July 31.

The Scotland skipper managed just two appearances in the final two months of the season after being struck down by a virus that caused dramatic weight loss.

Fletcher was then omitted from Ferguson's squad for the present tour. Happily though, Ferguson has revealed some good news about the combative midfielder.

"Sometimes viruses do take time," confirmed the Red Devils chief.

"Darren has been into Carrington over the last few days. He is doing a weight programme at the moment and hopefully by the time we get back, he will be joining us."

Meanwhile, Ferguson has confirmed new goalkeeper David de Gea will start tomorrow's friendly with Chicago Fire at Soldier Field.

The 20-year-old was a late arrival on tour after a successful European Under-21 Championship campaign in Spain.

He has trained for three days now and Ferguson wants to see how he performs in a match environment, believing the £18million signing from Atletico Madrid may draw comparisons to Chelsea's Petr Cech.

"David has had a few days' training now and done fine," said Ferguson.

"Being young and coming into the English game, the one area we are not sure about is that he may need time.

"On the other hand, he might do what Petr Cech did at Chelsea and take it by storm. Cech came into the Chelsea team and has never been out of it."