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Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic and Chris Smalling will be fit for the start of the Premier League campaign on August 20th away at Everton. Vidic has been missing from the United lineup since December, when he suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament injury against FC Basel in the Champions League. Chris Smalling has been out of action since the end of the season with a groin injury, which ruled him out of England’s Euro 2012 squad. Vidic was a massive loss to United, who lost the title on goal difference to Manchester City.
Speaking to the national press, Sir Alex Ferguson ruled out a return for Jonny Evans, but was more upbeat about the return of the United captain and Smalling:
“Jonny has had an operation. I am not sure he will start the season but he won’t be far away. Chris Smalling has done a bit of training. The ruptured groin muscle he had certainly needed a lot of attention. He is gradually progressing and I expect him to start the season. Vidic will start the season, I am sure of that. He is still at the level of doing good amounts of training but not in the competitive sense that the others have done so it was pointless bringing him out here. He is better being back at Carrington, with all the facilities and the physios to get him to the next level. By the time we get back, we hope he is at the competitive element of his comeback.”
Ironic that, with Vidic’s dominance in the air, United lost 1-0 to Manchester City (deservedly) in April from a Vincent Kompany header, however his return to first team action will be a massive boost to Sir Alex’s quest for a record twentieth league title . Chris Smalling was the unfortunate defender who lost Kompany for the goal, having said that – he has impressed many fans, both as a centre back and right full back since his arrival from Fulham in 2010.
Would you start Smalling at right back ahead of Rafael this season?