Vidic is a doubt for start of Premier League season, admits Sir Alex Ferguson

The Red Devils boss is unsure as to when his captain and fellow centre-backs Jonny Evans and Phil Jones will return to full fitness, but confirmed their return to training

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that Nemanja Vidic returned to full training on Monday, but cast doubts over his chances to represent the first-team for the start of the upcoming Premier League season.

The centre-back missed the majority of the previous campaign after rupturing his cruciate knee ligaments in the Champions League defeat to FC Basel last December.

There about also doubts over the fitness of fellow defenders Jonny Evans and Phil Jones, who are both struggling with foot injuries – with Chris Smalling having been ruled out until October after undergoing surgery on a damaged metatarsal last week.

Sir Alex told reporters, “It’s not 100% Evans and Vidic will start the season. Jonny will start running today. Vida [Vidic] and Phil Jones started full training today.

"If I can keep old man Rio [Ferdinand] fit and Vidic, then Phil Jones should give me ample cover."

The 70-year-old was also cautious on setting a return date for midfielder Darren Fletcher.

The Scotland captain was forced to take an extended break from the game in December after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a rare bowel condition, and Sir Alex had admitted that he is unsure as to when he will be fit again – but remains hopeful.

The Scot continued: “We don’t expect him back immediately, but hopefully he does come back at some point.”