Ferdinand and Hargreaves give United twin boost
Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves have handed Manchester United a twin boost. England defender Ferdinand successfully came through a 45-minute reserve workout on Wednesday night and now it's full steam ahead for a senior comeback. And his one-time international colleague Hargreaves was given a welcome tonic when Sir Alex Ferguson was able to find a place for him in his 25-man Premier League squad. Ferdinand's fitness road from Rustenburg to Stalybridge was completed at Bower Fold and he is now expected to be up for selection when United return to league action against Everton at Goodison Park a week on Saturday. Reserve team boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed he is raring to go. There was no problem whatsoever, he said. It was always planned that he would play 45 minutes. I am not sure he needs any more games. Rio is a naturally fit lad. Today was about distances and getting tighter to the ball. Now he is available for selection again. The 31-year-old centre back's World Cup was wrecked on June 4 when he collapsed with right knee ligament damage after striker Emile Heskey fell on the Reds star in England's first training session. Three months on from that heartbreaking blow for Fabio Capello's national captain, he smoothly came through the first half of the Manchester Senior Cup against Oldham reserves at Blue Square Conference North Stalybridge Celtic's HQ. It was his first outing since the Reds' final league match of the season against Stoke City at Old Trafford on May 9 and he eased through his return without any problems. Watched by Paul Scholes, United won 2-1, with Nicky Ajose opening the scoring and Federico Macheda adding the winner. Anderson, who has been out since suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury in February, had his second reserve outing of his comeback. Wes Brown was also playing his second reserve match of the campaign, having not featured at all yet for the first team. It was a less public piece of good news for Hargreaves, who is still in America doing rehabilitation work after returning to the Vail Clinic in Colorado in the summer. Hargreaves, whose second anniversary of his last senior start for United comes up this month, was forced back to the States to see specialist Dr Richard Steadman who had performed two knee operations to attempt to cure his chronic knee tendinitis in 2009. The 29-year-old midfielder suffered a setback on the eve of United's tour of USA and Canada after working out during the close season. But Fergie was finally able to fit in the injury-stricken £18m man in his squad and, in the end, only named 24 players as none of the seven on loan were included. The Reds boss can also play as many Under-21s as he wishes to beef up his squad. Had Hargreaves been omitted from the pool he would have been out of the Premier League until the New Year. United squad Goalkeepers: Van Der Sar, Kuszczak Defenders: Neville, Evra, Evans, Ferdinand, Brown, Vidic, O'Shea, De Laet Midfielders: Anderson, Giggs, Park, Carrick, Scholes, Fletcher, Valencia, Gibson, Hargreaves, Nani Strikers: Berbatov, Rooney, Hernandez, Owen What is your verdict on the line-up? Have your say.
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