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05/10/2012 09:45

Papers: Smalling back?

Ian Ladyman writes in the Daily Mail...

Defensive boost
Manchester United's defensive problems have eased with news that Chris Smalling is back in training. Smalling has been out since last season with a broken foot, but it is understood that he has joined in with the football work in training and could be an outside contender for a place on the bench at Newcastle on Sunday. Sir Alex Ferguson only has two of his senior centre-halves fit at the moment. Rio Ferdinand has partnered Jonny Evans, who is standing in for the injured Nemanja Vidic. The Serbian is out for another six weeks at least with a knee injury.

The Sun report Borussia Dortmund are determined to keep hold of striker Robert Lewandowski, despite strong rumoured interest from Manchester United. Sir Alex and Mike Phelan were at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday to watch Dortmund take on Manchester City.

There's also plenty of column inches devoted to Rio Ferdinand's latest omission from the England team. Roy Hodgson has apologised to Ferdinand after he told commuters on the London Underground that Rio's international career was over before speaking to the defender himself. "I’ll try to contact Rio because he deserves an apology from me for finding out he’s been excluded in that way. I’ll give him my sincere apologies,” Hodgson said.

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