Ferguson: Ferdinand needs a rest
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson insists Rio Ferdinand will be ready for domestic duty on Sunday after a midweek rest. Ferguson chose to overlook the England captain for Wednesday's Champions League clash with Bursaspor. In his absence, promising centre-half Chris Smalling was given another opportunity to shine and gain valuable first-team experience. Ferguson insists he had no qualms in throwing the youngster into European action, as he is tipped for a bright future at Old Trafford. The United boss is, however, expecting to have Ferdinand back in contention for a weekend trip to Stoke, as the Red Devils attempt to get their Premier League title bid back on track. "Rio's done fantastically well since he's come back from the internationals last week," Ferguson told Sky Sports. "But for young Chris Smalling it's a great opportunity for him. We have every confidence in the boy and it gives him a bit of experience. "Rio will be ready for Sunday." United's clash with Bursaspor takes Ferguson to 2,000 games as a manager, with his career having spanned 36 years. During that time he has taken in spells with East Stirlingshire, St Mirren, Aberdeen, the Scotland national side and United. He has rarely had a week like the last one at Old Trafford, though, with the future of Wayne Rooney having dominated the headlines. The England striker has admitted that he is actively looking for a move and Ferguson admits the whole episode has left him exhausted. "Two thousandth. Fantastic," he said. "It feels like about 10,000 after this week!"
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