INJURY-PLAGUED England centre-back Rio Ferdinand has moved to dismiss claims that he is struggling to be fit for next summer’s World Cup.
The Manchester United defender, 31, has been out of action since October with a calf injury, raising doubts as to whether he regain sufficient match fitness to make Fabio Capello’s squad for the South Africa showdown.
Capello has warned he will only select fully-fit players in his 23-man party, but although the injury is being linked to a previous back problem, thus delaying his recovery, Ferdinand insists he’ll be fighting fit for South Africa.
“I’m confident I’ll be fit. There’s no question I’ll be ready for next summer,” he said. “It’s the worst thing for a player to be injured and to be just watching your team, so I’ve been working hard in the gym to get fit.
“The treatment on my injury is going well. It’s been quite slowly but we’re getting there. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s been a tough and long lay-off for me because I have never been injured before.”
Ferdinand has been joined on the sidelines at United by fellow defenders Wes Brown, Jonny Evans, John O’Shea and Gary Neville, but despite having to reshuffle the pack, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men have only conceded three goals in their absence.
“Michael Carrick’s done a great job filling in at centre-half, so has Darren Fletcher at right-back so I’m glad for them,” Ferdinand added.
“That’s what Manchester United is all about, it’s all about the team effort.”