JOHN O'SHEA has dismissed suggestions that he might be out for the rest of the season and the Waterford-born player says he could be back in action by March.
That could come too late for Ireland's next international date, the March 2 friendly with Brazil in London, but O'Shea could be back in a red shirt for his club's crucial games against AC Milan in the Champions League (March 10) and Liverpool (March 21).
O'Shea has not played since Ireland's World Cup defeat to France in November due to a blood clot on his leg and only last week, United manager Alex Ferguson expressed fears that O'Shea would not play again this season.
But the player has told United and Ireland fans to expect him back.
"The boss said that I could be out for the rest of this season, but 'could' and 'would' are two very different words," O'Shea said.
"I am much more hopeful about my injury situation which is improving at a very steady pace and I am very hopeful of being back in the action sometime in March."
The injury in Paris was a cruel blow for O'Shea, who played in 15 of United's first 19 games of the season.