Fergie: Tour too soon for Smith

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Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that the pre-season tour of South Africa will come too soon for Alan Smith.

The Manchester United forward-turned-midfielder suffered an horrific injury during the FA Cup defeat to Liverpool earlier in the year, when attempting to charge down a John Arne Riise free kick.

There were immediate concerns for Smith's career, such was the extent of the damage to his leg, but Ferguson is happy with the former Leeds United star's recovery.

"Alan is doing very well and we are very pleased with the progress," Ferguson explained to MUTV.

"But when he was injured in February, we said he wouldn't play for six or seven months so he won't be back until the end of August or early September."

As expected, Ferguson has also stressed that he plans to welcome unsettled hit-man Ruud van Nistelrooy back for pre-season training on July 24, along with the other World Cup performers.

Park Ji-sung heads back a week earlier following South Korea's first round exit in Germany.