Football

Welbeck close to return

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Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that England striker Danny Welbeck should return to training next week.

After injuring his hamstring after scoring the first goal in United's 8-2 annihilation of Arsenal a fortnight ago, it was felt Welbeck would be sidelined for the remainder of the month. However, the 20-year-old has made good progress in his recovery during the international break.

And, although he will not be involved in Saturday's Premier League encounter with Bolton at the Reebok Stadium and is virtually certain not to travel to Portugal next week when United open their Champions League campaign against Benfica, Ferguson is hopeful Welbeck will be back in action fairly quickly.

"Danny is making good progress. The injury is not as bad as we thought and he should be training next week," said Ferguson.

Ferguson also confirmed Antonio Valencia will be available after shrugging off the ankle injury he suffered during Copa America, although skipper Nemanja Vidic and fellow defender Rafael remain sidelined.

It promises to be a stern test for rookie keeper David de Gea, who struggled dealing with the high ball on his debut at West Brom.

And, although Owen Coyle has instigated a much more free-flowing approach to the game than Bolton are renowned for, it is hard to imagine Kevin Davies in particular will not try to give the Spain Under-21 keeper a rough ride.

However, Ferguson is confident De Gea will come through, especially if he gets the correct protection from referee Andre Marriner.

"He is bound to get better protection than he did against West Brom," said the United boss.

"There is nothing wrong with that. That is part of the challenge. Each game that comes along is a new experience for him. He actually did very well at West Brom in the sense of dealing with it but he didn't get the protection from the referee at the time. We expect him to get better protection than that."

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Topics:
Arsenal
West Bromwich Albion
European News
Football
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Alex
Danny Welbeck
UEFA Champions League
Nemanja Vidic
Antonio Valencia
Kevin Davies

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