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Manchester United’s Argentinian defender Gabriel Heinze, who has been out of action since last September, is close to making a first team comeback.

United manager Alex Ferguson said the left back, who still harbours hopes of making Argentina’s World Cup squad, could even play against Sunderland at Old Trafford on Friday.

“Gabi has been back in training for the last three weeks and he is looking fantastic,” Ferguson told the club’s website.

“It was a toss-up as to whether or not he should be on the bench against Arsenal at the weekend.

“He has been tackling like a tiger, has shown great energy in training and his enthusiasm is infectious. He is very close and it may be I give him a go against Sunderland later this week.”

Heinze picked up the injury in United’s Champions League game against Villarreal.

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