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Monday, December 10, 2007

Park's festive return?

Ji-sung Park could provide United with some early Christmas cheer, with Sir Alex revealing the South Korea international is close to making his long-anticipated return.

Park, 26, hasn't played since damaging his knee against Blackburn Rovers in March but the manager told Manchester United Radio he expects the midfielder to feature in his plans soon.

"Ji-sung Park is now training with the first-team and should be ready in a couple of weeks," Sir Alex said. "He'll be back in the fold in about two weeks' time, I think."

Going on that prognosis, it's possible Park could find himself back on the pitch when Everton arrive at Old Trafford on Sunday 23 December. If so, nobody will be more pleased than the United boss.

"He's a terrific young player and his return will be a great boost for us," he said. "He gives us more options going forward, which is good news." Read more...

Reds' Italian test

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Unable to beat Coventry City in the Carling Cup earlier this season, United's youngsters will now be handed the task of toppling Italian giants AS Roma.

A number of first-team regulars are expected to be left behind when the Reds fly to Rome on Tuesday morning for the following night's Champions League group match, leaving room for some of Sir Alex's younger troops.

"There's no doubt we'll take some young kids," the manager told Manchester United Radio. "We've won the group and Roma are guaranteed second place, so there's no issue with us potentially affecting the outcome of the group.

"We wanted to give the young boys experience playing in the Carling Cup but they let themselves down against Coventry. Now there's a chance for the likes of Jonny Evans, Gerard Pique, Danny Simpson and Chris Eagles to elevate themselves. We know all about their ability but this is an opportunity for them to prove themselves.

"They won't be on their own, though. They'll have back-up from players like John O'Shea, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick, Louis Saha, Nani and Anderson. Cristiano Ronaldo might possibly be involved as well.

"We're not in the habit of sending teams out to lose. We'll be sending out a time that we think is good enough to win." Read more...

Hargo: I Owe It All To Fergie

Owen Hargreaves believes Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is Mr Perfect. England midfielder Hargreaves reckons his Old Trafford boss has played a blinder by bringing him back slowly from tendonitis. And the former Bayern Munich star, 26, is ready to repay Fergie’s patience by cementing his place in United’s starting line-up. Hargo said: “Sir Alex has proved to be the perfect manager. With the injury, he’s known when to rest me and when to play me. The only disappointment has been I’d like to have played more games. Hopefully, that’ll change. Being a United player is everything I expected - and more. And the competition in midfield is great. We miss Paul Scholes at the moment but Anderson is showing what he can do. We’ve plenty of options with Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher pushing for places. It makes it difficult for the manager, which is a good thing.”
Staff writer, The Sun