Van der Sar hails Rio return

Defender praised by United goalkeeper

Ferdinand: Backed by keeper

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Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has praised the form of Rio Ferdinand since his return from injury.

Ferdinand endured a lengthy spell on the sidelines following a knee injury sustained on England duty prior to the World Cup.

But the United stopper played in back-to-back outings last week, helping his side record clean sheets in both games.

And Van der Sar has backed Ferdinand, in particular for his response after his World Cup heartache.

He told the Manchester Evening News: "It is nice when you get experienced players back. He did really well and has been working so hard to regain his fitness.

"He had the disappointment of not captaining England at the World Cup. But, hopefully, all the hard work he has put in will pay off and give him a good season without missing too many matches."