Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been impressed with the speed of Rio Ferdinand's recovery from the knee ligament injury which kept the player out of the World Cup.
Ferguson was able to confirm today that Ferdinand had trained with the United squad this week and that he would look to give the player some game time in the next couple of weeks, with the defender expected to train with the reserves today.
"Rio has trained this week," Ferguson told reporters at his Friday press conference.
"He's surprised me with his progress, it's fantastic.
"Anderson has trained with the first team all week, as has Wayne Rooney which is really good news.
"Rio hadn't done anything football-wise when I spoke last week.
"When he read what I said maybe it gave him a kick. But he has come in and trained this week and done fantastic. He will train with the reserves today.
"He won't be involved on Saturday, of course, but we have to try and think when we can get a game with him in the next two weeks he is that close."
With some testing games on the horizon for United the news comes as a welcome boost.
Nevertheless, Ferguson is determined to exercise caution as the player's return to first team action nears.
"You need to be aware of knee ligament injuries but at the moment everything is fine," the Scot added.
Meanwhile, Ferguson also hit back at reports this week which claimed that new forward Bebe has been less than impressive in his short time at the club so far.
It had been suggested that the £7 million summer arrival had been a major disappointment and looked well off the pace required.
His manager insists that the situation is merely a question of fitness however.
"Bebe is on a programme doing endurance work because his fitness levels are not near the ones we are at," the United boss asserted.
"Other than that he has done well. I know he has had a couple of vicious attacks on him for why he wasn't playing in the reserve game but he was never going to be playing on Tuesday.
"The boy did not deserve that.
"He is a young man trying to make his way in football. They didn't need to do that. It was a really bitter attack. Ability-wise he is excellent. He is a terrific finisher.
"We have been very impressed with that. It is just the fitness levels he needs to get to."