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Ferdinand confident of World Cup fitness

Rio Ferdinand is 'staying positive' about his injury problems ahead of this summer’s World Cup in South Africa. The England captain has missed three months with a persistent back injury but will play his third game in a row for Manchester United against Fulham on Sunday.

'It is still taking time,' Ferdinand told reporters. 'The more games you get the better you feel, and I would put myself in that category. But I don't think negatively about it. I just think about staying positive and staying fit, being on the pitch. That is what I aim to do.'

Ferdinand has played just 13 games for United this season and has been told by back specialists that the problem could flare up at any point. However, the defender is following an specially tailored fitness programme to counteract the injury.

Along with Nemanja Vidic Ferdinand has been a stalwart in United’s title winning sides over the past couple of seasons and the pair returned against Milan and Wolves last week with the team keeping successive clean sheets.

'They haven't played a lot of games this season and to have them back at this stage is fantastic for us,' Sir Alex Ferguson told reporters. 'Rio's training well now. He missed a couple of games and panicked a little bit, as we all did. We were all thinking 'here we go again', but he's fine and looking good.'

‘He and Vidic were brilliant on Wednesday and it gives us a big chance. I see the two of them together and there's a sense of security with their experience, their authority, that understanding with each other. It's great to see.’

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