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Rio Ferdinand ready for Man Utd first team - Solskjaer

Rio Ferdinand
Ferdinand missed the World Cup with a knee injury

Rio Ferdinand is ready to play for the Manchester United first team, according to reserves boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Ferdinand has been sidelined since suffering a major knee ligament injury the day after the England World Cup squad arrived in South Africa in June.

The 31-year-old made his comeback by playing 45 minutes against Oldham's second string on Wednesday.

"Today was about distances and getting tighter to the ball. He is available for selection again," said Solskjaer.

In addition to missing out on the chance to captain his country at the 2010 World Cup, Ferdinand has been on the sidelines for United's opening three Premier League matches.

606: DEBATE
Harminder Dhak

But Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson will have the centre-back at his disposal for the visit to Everton on 11 September which comes ahead of games against Rangers and Liverpool.

"Rio is always the same player," added Solskjaer. "It is a while since he has played but he was still calm.

"He has got through an important 45 minutes, straight after two very hard training sessions yesterday and the day before so we are delighted with him."

Ferdinand picked up the knee injury in a collision with Emile Heskey as England began training in South Africa and is eager to make up for lost time.

Solskjaer, who took Ferdinand off with the game scoreless, continued: "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."

Italian striker Federico Macheda sealed a 2-1 win for United's reserves as Brazilian midfielder Anderson managed all 90 minutes as he returns from a cruciate ligament operation.

Ferdinand's comeback is too late for England's opening Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria on Friday, 3 September and Switzerland on Tuesday, 7 September, but it will be a welcome bit of good news on the injury front for manager Fabio Capello.

Meanwhile, Manchester United chief executive David Gill has revealed the club have failed to reach their target of season ticket sales this summer.

In July, United were forced to take the unusual step of placing 4,000 Old Trafford season tickets on general sale, having only sold 50,000.

Gill said the number of season tickets sold was now 51,800 compared to the target of 54,000, and that executive seat sales were "on track".

The club sold 64,000 season tickets two years ago, of which 8,000 were all-important premium tickets, and only 500 fewer last season.

United's season-ticket sales have been conducted against a backdrop of a campaign by fans' group the Manchester United Supporters' Trust (MUST) urging a boycott in the hope of persuading the American owners, the Glazer family, to sell the club.



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see also
Ferdinand five weeks from return
20 Aug 10 |  Man Utd
Man Utd take surprise ticket step
23 Jul 10 |  Man Utd
Ferdinand will not return to SA
17 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Ferdinand ruled out of World Cup
04 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Ferguson backs captain Ferdinand
06 Feb 10 |  Man Utd


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