Fergie welcomes Rio return

Sir Alex Ferguson is looking forward to having Rio Ferdinand back in the Manchester United team on a regular basis.

Ferdinand has endured an injury-plagued past couple of seasons and missed the start of the current campaign with a knee problem picked up in training with England prior to the World Cup.

He made his comeback against Rangers in the UEFA Champions League a fortnight ago and also started last week's Carling Cup tie at Scunthorpe United.

Having been left out of Sunday's Premier League draw at Bolton Wanderers, Ferdinand is set to resume his partnership with Nemanja Vidic for Wednesday's game in Valencia.

"Rio is much fitter now," said Ferguson. "He has had plenty of training, a couple of reserve games and matches against Rangers and Scunthorpe.

"He was out for five months so he still probably needs another game or so. That's why I didn't risk him on Sunday against Bolton.

"I felt that would be a physical challenge so we decided to stick with Nemanja Vidic and Jonny Evans, who have done very well for us. I have no complaints about their performance levels.

"But the important thing is he is coming back and we look forward to having him back."

The United manager also praised the contribution of striker Michael Owen, who is pushing for a start against Valencia after scoring three goals in his last two appearances.

"Michael's performances in training have been terrific," said Ferguson. "I have said that since he joined us.

"The goals he has scored don't go unnoticed either.

"He is an outstanding footballer, who has improved since he came to our club."

Source: Sky Sports
Date Published: 29 September 2010