Ferdinand feeling sharper

United defender happy with fitness

Ferdinand: Back to fitness

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Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is looking forward to playing regularly again after returning to fitness.

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Ferdinand came back into the side for last week's goalless draw against Rangers in the UEFA Champions League following a lengthy lay-off.

He was unable to feature in the Premier League clash with Liverpool at the weekend due to illness but was fit to take his place at centre-back at Scunthorpe on Wednesday.

Ferdinand is now eager to play a major role, having missed the World Cup due to a knee injury and been hampered by back problems last term.

"I'm just happy to be playing games now. I'm feeling good, getting sharper with every game so long may it continue," he told the club's official website after the 5-2 Carling Cup victory.

Smalling praise

Ferdinand lined up alongside Chris Smalling in the heart of United's defence and was impressed by the former Fulham man, who scored a well-taken goal.

"Chris is willing to learn, he wants to learn, he's hungry. You can see the desire in him," said Ferdinand.

"He scored from a bit of a forward's run, across the front and getting a nick on the cross.

"He's doing well. I think he's taking everything in during training and getting his rewards in games."

Ferdinand was pleased to overcome spirited opponents at Glanford Park, saying: "It's always going to be a tricky test, coming to a place like this with the crowd really up for it.

"There was great support from both sets of fans, loads of humour.

"But when we got back in the game with a great finish from Gibbo (Darron Gibson), we settled and started playing and put the game to bed."