Rio Ferdinand has been omitted from Manchester United's 19-man squad that travelled to Portugal this morning ahead of Wednesday night's UEFA Champions League clash with Benfica.
The 32-year-old is not believed to have suffered a fresh injury after returning to Sir Alex Ferguson's first-team for the thumping 5-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday.
It was Ferdinand's first appearance for the Red Devils in a month, and looking ahead to their next Barclays Premier League encounter when they host Chelsea at Old Trafford, Ferguson has opted to not take any risks with the defender.
The decision means United will be without both of their first-choice central defensive pairing as Nemanja Vidic remains sidelined with a calf problem, so Phil Jones - who impressed at right-back at the weekend, could be paired alongside Jonny Evans who has successfully shrugged off a hip problem to be fit for tomorrow night.
Patrice Evra also took a knock to his knee against the Trotters, but travels with the rest of the squad that includes Darren Fletcher, Park Ji-sung, Ryan Giggs, Michael Owen, and Dimitar Berbatov who are all pushing for starts.
Tom Cleverley meanwhile, will miss the game as he continues his recovery from the foot injury suffered as a result of a Kevin Davies challenge, but X-rays revealed the 22-year-old has not broken a bone in his foot - as was first feared, so he should be back in around four weeks after straining ankle ligaments and tendons.
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