Chris Smalling has been declared fit for Manchester United ahead of the weekend’s home fixture against Stoke City, with Ashley Young and even Phil Jones well and truly on the comeback trail.
The Daily Mail, The Express and The Mirror have all ran reports in the last few hours stating that Chris Smalling and Ashley Young have been declared fit enough to take part this weekend when Stoke City visit Old Trafford for the recommencement of the Premier Leauge after the latest international break. It is also reported that Phil Jones is not too far off his return, with a return against Stoke also not being ruled out.
The news comes as a massive relief to Sir Alex Ferguson who has had to manage his players incredibly carefully whilst waiting for those carrying injuries into the new season to recover.
An expected two-month lay off for Nemanja Vidic after more knee surgery looked to be a killer blow, but Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans, who is still returning to full match fitness himself, have done a decent job of holding down the fort in his absence, and the pressures on them looks like it could be set to ease with some much needed reinforcements coming in defence.
Chris Smalling was set for a bumper summer of football when he was selected for England’s EURO 2012 squad, however he was eventually ruled out with a groin injury before breaking a metatarsal in pre-season training. Smalling returned to full training last week, and has supposedly impressed enough to merit potential selection for this weekend’s fixture.
Ashley Young too has returned to full first team training over the international break after sorting out a knee complaint with the club’s medical staff, and is also in real contention for a return to the first team, as Sir Alex suggested he would be before the Newcastle game, which United won 3-0.
Phil Jones is a little further away from a return, and may have to wait until early November for his first appearance of the season, as he recovers from his own knee surgery, which he underwent last month.
Darren Fletcher could also make a return to the Premier League after making a couple of appearances in the Champions League and Capital One Cup, should he get through Scotland’s fixture with Belgium with no problems this week.
Antonio Valencia has also overcome a minor ankle injury that kept him from starting against Newcastle.