"When you consider the way Gary has been plagued by injuries for 18 months, he has done brilliantly to come back so convincingly," said Ferguson.
"At one point I thought he would not make it back into the Premier League. But he has and all credit to him.
"He persevered and never lost faith, despite the succession of niggles and strains that followed his ankle injury.
"He is a role model for any player feeling down on his luck."