Belfast Telegraph

Rafael ready to step up comeback

Manchester United full-back Rafael could take a significant step towards a return to the first team this week.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will consider playing the 21-year-old Brazilian in the reserves against Everton on Thursday. Rafael has been out since August, when he had surgery on a shoulder injury.

Ferguson said: "Rafael has been training for over a week. It was a big operation on his shoulder and we hope we can maybe fit a game in for him - maybe the next reserve game."

He added: "He's coming along fine, there has been no setback and he has been training every day."

Rafael's return could prove timely, with Chris Smalling having been ruled out for a month with a fractured foot.

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