Ferguson: Nani is going nowhere

Manchester United winger Nani has been reassured that he is still a firm part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s plans, despite his Champions League final snub.

Speculation had surfaced that the Portuguese wide-man's future at Old Trafford could be in doubt, with the return to fitness and form of Antonio Valencia combined with the recent acquisition of former Aston Villa forward Ashley Young adding to Ferguson’s plethora of options on the flanks.

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However, Ferguson has since rubbished the reports, confirming his intention to retain the trickster.

“Nani did really well the whole of last season but Antonio Valencia came back and his form was so good it was difficult to leave him out of the team," he said in The Sun.

Nani was United’s leading appearance maker last season with 48 games, a number the Red Devils' manager expects him to get close to again during the upcoming season.

“Nani is a good player and his personality is improving. We will be challenging next season and will play a lot of games,” he said.

And the Scot added that he is confident the winger will bounce back positively from his Wembley disappointment, saying: “He was unfortunate not to be picked for the Champions League final but is still young and is maturing all the time.”

Nani only has to look to Park Ji-Sung for inspiration, who after being dropped for the 2008 European final against Chelsea fought his way into contention to face Barcelona in the following season's showpiece.

By Lee Wilson