Ashley Young is ready to reignite his second season with Manchester United after fighting back from injury in time to face Stoke City tomorrow.
The England winger has been out-of-action since the first home tie of the year against Fulham after suffering a knee injury – but two months on he is ready to challenge for a place on United’s flanks.
The 27-year-old has been forced to watch on the sidelines as Sir Alex Ferguson has adapted to an unrecognisable winger-less line-up – utilising a three-pronged attack of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck – but he happy to welcome back Young.
“Everyone came back from the internationals fit,” said Sir Alex. “Which is a bonus.
“There is always a time when you’re a bit concerned but we’ve been lucky this time. Also Ashley Young is fit and gives us another option.
“Young has shown his qualities. Very few players can cross as well as he can and his goalscoring ratio is very good for us.”
With misfiring Nani struggling for form and Antonio Valencia struggling for fitness, Young’s addition could instigate the width United have been missing in recent ties.
But young England defender Chris Smalling – who is battling surgery on a broken metatarsal – is not ready to rejoin the ranks.
“He is not quite there but is making progress,” said Fergie, who will be hoping his four players used in both England games will have recovered in time for Saturday’s fixture.