By Greg Stobart
Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic is making impressive progress in recovery from a serious knee injury and is on course to be fit for the start of next season, Goal.com understands.
The Serbian defender has stepped up his workload in recent weeks and is now likely to take part in most, if not all, of United’s pre-season preparations.
Vidic, 30, suffered cruciate knee ligament damage in the Champions League defeat at Basel in December and United feared he would be out of action for up to a year after he underwent surgery on New Year’s Day.
But he is now in the gym at the club’s Carrington training base most days working on strengthening the muscle around his knee, with medical staff expecting him to start running at ball work towards the end of this month.
United have missed Vidic’s influence during his absence, which has been keenly felt during the run-in, most notably in the 4-4 home draw with Everton last month.
Sir Alex Ferguson will refuse to take any risks with his captain and is mindful a setback would delay his return but the defender is pencilled in to take part in the pre-season of Asia in July.
Vidic has become one of United’s most important players since moving to Old Trafford from Spartak Moscow for £7 million in 2006, winning four Premier League titles as well as the Champions League in 2008.