Solskjaer: Rio is ready to return
Manchester United reserve-team boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Rio Ferdinand can be thrown straight into first-team action after the defender came through Wednesday night's second-string clash with Oldham.
It was the first time Ferdinand had been in action since he suffered a major knee ligament injury in a freak collision with Emile Heskey on the first day of World Cup training with England in South Africa. And it seems Ferdinand is now on track to face Everton at Goodison Park on September 11 after a typically stylish performance in the low-key arena of Bower Fold in Stalybridge.
"There was no problem whatsoever," Solskjaer said. "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."
He added: "It was about distances and getting tighter to the ball. Now he is available for selection again.
"Rio is always the same player, 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 (Tuesday) and the day before so we are delighted with him."
Goalless when Ferdinand ended his contribution, United eventually emerged triumphant in a Manchester Senior Cup tie watched by Paul Scholes, when Federico Macheda lashed home a superb left-footed strike in the latter stages to seal a 2-1 win.
Aside from the result and Ferdinand's return, Sir Alex Ferguson will doubtless be interested to learn of a full 90 minutes for Brazilian midfielder Anderson, who is on his way back from a cruciate operation.