Manchester United have welcomed captain Nemanja Vidic back into the first team as pre season preparations gather speed.
Following tour games in South Africa and the Far East with a squad comprising of a handful of first team players and a selection of reserve and youth players, the Red Devils have brought a number of big name players back into the fold for their recent match against Valerenga, including forward Wayne Rooney and Serbian Vidic, who had previously been out for 8 months after sustaining knee ligament damage against Basel in December.
Despite the return of these first teamers, United were unable to find a way past their Norwegian opponents, with an eventful match ending goalless, and will be hopeful for a more positive outcome when they face Barcelona in Gothenburg on Wednesday.
However, Vidic has spoken of his happiness and relief to return to the team after a length and frustrating spell on the sidelines, which saw the skipper miss the entirety of his side’s title run in.
“I felt well,” said the defender. “My knee felt well and hopefully the next game will be better.”
Vidic’s return is timely as manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who left the team in the capable hands of his assistant Mike Phelan while undertaking as yet unspecified “other club business”, is facing something of a minor defensive injury crisis as his team gear up for the opening day of their Premier League campaign against Fulham in two weeks’ time.
Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans are both on the road to returning from injury, and the Brazilian Da Silva twins are similarly indisposed, as Rafael is representing his country at the Olympic Games and Fabio has joined QPR on a season long loan. This leaves Ferguson with only four first choice defenders.
“We do have Phil Jones, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra, though,” said the Scot of his threadbare defence. “That will be the back four on tour. Hopefully we don’t get any more injuries as it would leave me a bit short.”