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Page last updated at 10:52 GMT, Friday, 20 August 2010 11:52 UK

Man Utd's Rio Ferdinand to return at end of September

Anderson and Rio Ferdinand
Anderson and Ferdinand watched from the stands as United beat Newcastle

Defender Rio Ferdinand is expected to return to fitness at the end of September, according to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

The 31-year-old suffered a ligament injury while training with England on 4 June, putting him out of the World Cup.

He is likely to miss United's Premier League matches against Fulham, West Ham, Everton and Liverpool, but could be back against Bolton on 26 September.

He is also out of Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland.

It had initially been hoped that the England captain may be fit for the start of the season but estimates on his recovery have gradually been revised backwards.

Ferguson, speaking at the end of July, said the centre-back was six weeks away from match fitness - a prognosis that suggested he would make his comeback for the away match against Everton on 12 September.

the guy who declined to comment

"At the time Steve McNally, the club doctor, said September," Ferguson said on Friday. "We're quite near the mark.

"It was a medial ligament problem rather than a cruciate, so the recovery time is exactly what we thought.

"It was a freak. It is nothing to do with his back. We just had to treat it the proper way. These things are never easy."

Ferdinand suffered his injury in a collision with team-mate Emile Heskey during England's first training session in Rustenburg as they prepared for the World Cup in South Africa.

The injury was a devastating end to what had been a disappointing season for Ferdinand, who was restricted to only 13 Premier League starts for United and 21 appearances overall because of a persistent back injury.

I heard knee snap - Ferdinand on his injury before the World Cup

While the first two matches of England's Euro 2012 qualification campaign on 3 and 7 September are now out of the question, manager Fabio Capello may have him back for Montenegro's visit to Wembley on 12 October.

Ferdinand's United team-mate Anderson is closer to making his own comeback after a cruciate knee ligament injury suffered against West Ham in February ruled him out of Brazil's World Cup campaign.

The 22-year-old, who escaped a serious car crash with minor injuries in August , could be part of the squad that make the trip to Goodison Park.

"I'm so happy and excited to be back again after six months without football," stated Anderson.

"I think maybe very soon I'll come back again and start playing normally with the rest of the team.

"I have had no problems at all with the injury. I'm just running and training now really hard."

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see also
Highlights - Germany 4-1 England
27 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Ferdinand will not return to SA
17 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Ferdinand ruled out of World Cup
04 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Man Utd's Anderson out for season
25 Feb 10 |  Man Utd
Ferguson backs captain Ferdinand
06 Feb 10 |  Man Utd
Ferdinand set for Man Utd return
22 Jan 10 |  Man Utd

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