Ferguson praises 'immense' Ferdinand

April 26, 2011
Football - UEFA Competitions - Bet Now at Bet365

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has acknowledged the impact Rio Ferdinand's return to action has had on the current Premier League leaders.

The United defender had been out of action for over two months with a calf problem when he made a seamless return in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final victory over Chelsea.

Three weeks and three games later, Ferdinand looks as if he has never been away and tonight in Gelsenkirchen will be one of the United men aiming to keep legendary Spain striker Raul quiet.

Manchester United can be backed at 11/8 to keep a clean sheet this evening, while Raul is a 9/4 shot to score at anytime in the game.

If he can manage to keep the Schalke strikers at bay, Ferdinand will have taken the Red Devils a long way towards reaching their third final in four seasons (now 1/3 to reach the final).

Ferguson, meanwhile, believes the omens are good.

"Rio's ability showed itself in the first leg against Chelsea," he said. "He was absolutely immense.

"That experience and ability is vital in the situation we are in at the moment. He is fresh and ready to play and that is a big step forward for us."

Ferdinand will partner skipper Nemanja Vidic at the heart of United's defence. Elsewhere, the make-up of Ferguson's team is rather harder to predict.

Park Ji-sung, for instance, is virtually certain to start but could occupy a spot in a three-man central midfield or on either of the flanks.

Similarly Wayne Rooney might be pushed out wide, could be selected as a lone striker, as he was against Bayern 12 months ago, or even in midfield, where he has been effective in the last couple of games.

Wayne Rooney is at odds of 4/1 to score first tonight.

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