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Cleverley out until Christmas

Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley has been ruled out until Christmas with ankle ligament damage.

Cleverley, 22, suffered the injury in a Premier League game against Everton last month in his first comeback game from a previous foot problem. Although the injury wasn't thought to be serious, manager Sir Alex Ferguson fears it could now be worse than initially suspected.

"It is pretty long term,'' said Ferguson. "(He will be out until) Christmas time. It is unfortunate. It is worse than we thought.

"When he first came off against Everton he reported it as just a tightness, with a bit of pain. We have done scans again and the injury has recurred. We will have to give him a break.''

The news is a blow to United following the impact Cleverley had made since returning from his loan spell at Wigan Athletic.

Striker Michael Owen is expected to be out for a similar spell, while striker Danny Welbeck and defender Chris Smalling have also been ruled out of the approaching league fixture against Swansea City.

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