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Wednesday 18 July 2012

Man Utd defensive duo ready for start of season

Nemanja Vidic and Chris Smalling expected to be ready for start of campaign

Nemanja Vidic has been out since December 7th with a cruciate ligament injury

Manchester United are likely to begin the new season stronger than ever after manager Sir Alex Ferguson revealed Nemanja Vidic and Chris Smalling are expected to be fit for the start of the new Barclays Premier League campaign.

United skipper Vidic was out for five months last season after rupturing his cruciate ligament during United's UEFA Champions League defeat by Basel in December.

Smalling missed the final match of the Barclays Premier League campaign and the whole of UEFA EURO 2012 after sustaining a groin injury playing against Swansea City in May.

"Vidic will start the season, I am sure of that"
- Sir Alex Ferguson

Injury problems have meant that United only took one senior defender, Rio Ferdinand, on their pre-season tour of South Africa and China.

But their manager remains confident that both the former Serbia international and the England defender will be available for selection when they travel to Everton for their opening League encounter against Everton on August 20th.

"Vidic will start the season," Ferguson told the club's official website.

"I am sure of that. He's still at that level of doing a good amount of training but not the competitive level that the other lads are at. He's better off staying at Carrington.

"Smalling has done a bit of training," he added. "He had a ruptured groin muscle which needed a lot of attention but he's made gradual progress and we expect him to start the season."

Though Phil Jones has also missed the pre-season tour, he has been given extra time off to recover from his UEFA European Championship travails.

However, Jonny Evans is likely to be sidelined for the start of the season after undergoing an operation.

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Key Points

  • Vidic misses pre-season tour but back in training
  • Ferguson says Smalling has made 'gradual progress'
  • Jonny Evans unlikely to start season after operation