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Last Updated: Monday, 20 September, 2004, 21:15 GMT 22:15 UK
Ferdinand delight on return
Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand enjoyed a winning return to the Manchester United first team.

In his first game since January, Ferdinand gave a composed display as United beat Liverpool 2-1.

The 25-year-old lasted the full 90 minutes and was the last player to leave the pitch as he stayed to applaud the United fans at Old Trafford.

"It was brilliant. Physically and mentally it's all new again but I got into it and it was just nice to be back out there," said Ferdinand.

"The fans were fantastic as soon as I came out for the warm-up."

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson elected to throw Ferdinand straight back into the action following the end of his eight-month ban for missing a drugs test.

"I thought he was superb," said Ferguson.

"He has an assuredness and a composure that transmits through the whole team."

I never ever failed to accept responsibility and that is a fact
Rio Ferdinand
Ferdinand's first touch was a lay-off to Wes Brown, while his second was a foul on Liverpool midfielder Luis Garcia.

Liverpool failed to trouble Ferdinand in the first half, but they went on the attack after the break.

But after Silvestre headed the second of his two goals, Ferdinand's only real concern was his fitness, with the United physio providing the defender with an energy bar midway through the second half.

"I guess it was a huge loss of nervous energy and I needed some sugar intake," explained Ferdinand.

Ferdinand said he did not want to discuss the controversy surrounding his ban, but insisted he accepted responsibility for his mistake in missing the drugs test.

"I'm not looking back, I'm looking to the future to play football like I wanted to when I was a kid," he said.

"I never ever failed to accept responsibility and that is a fact. I held my hand up the minute it happened.

"The stuff that happened after it is for everyone to learn from. If someone gets in that situation again, it will be 'bang, you've got a ban'."

There was more good news for United when Sir Alex Ferguson suggested Wayne Rooney will be fit for his debut in October.

"It's going to be about two more weeks for Wayne," said Ferguson.

"Wayne will go back to see the specialist on Thursday but I think we are looking at the Middlesbrough game on 3 October for his comeback."






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