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Manchester United's Cleverley out for longer than expected

November 19, 2011 18:06 IST

Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley is still several weeks away from a return after his ankle injury turned out to be worse than thought, manager Alex Ferguson said on Friday.

The 22-year-old player, whose energy and distribution skills allowed him to break into the first team this season, picked up the injury during last month's 1-0 win at Everton.

"It's more serious than we thought," Ferguson told a news conference, ruling out Cleverley until Christmas.

There was better news for winger Ashley Young, who has recovered from a toe injury and will be fit for Saturday's trip to Swansea City.

Defender Chris Smalling will miss the game in Wales but may return for Tuesday's Champions League match at home to Benfica, while striker Danny Welbeck is still recovering from a muscle strain sustained on international duty with England.

Champions United are second in the table with 26 points from 11 games, trailing neighbours Manchester City by five points.

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