Man Utd boss: Smith will be very important to us

Ferguson said: “He’s training terrific but the difficulty, of course, is the form of the team.

“He’s been training excellently and we gave him a [reserve] game against Liverpool and he showed he needed a game. When we put him in midfield though he did really well.

“His training is outstanding and improving all the time. I could play him tomorrow, no problem at all.

“The difficulty is we have got so many players playing so well.

“I guess it’s selfish but I’m thinking that, when Henrik Larsson goes back to Helsingborgs, Alan Smith will be very important to us.

“I think he sees that as well and hopefully that’s the case.”