Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has warned senior defenders Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic they face a battle earning a return to the first team.

Ferdinand, 32, skipper Vidic, 29, and the rest of the club's established stars know they have a new challenge on their hands to retain regular first-team football.

Ferguson said: "Rio and Nemanja are aware of the abilities of the young players. There is no question about that.

"When they are both fit, or one of them is, I will have a decision to make."

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