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Ferguson Hopeful on Dong Playing for United
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Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has said that Chinese striker Dong Fangzhuo is likely to play for the English premier league club in nine months.

United signed up Dong from Chinese club Dalian Shide about three years ago, but loaned him to Belgian club Royal Antwerp in order to build up his experience.

Dong was loaned also because of his inability to secure a British work permit, but with the 21-year-old set to be eligible for a European passport later this year, Ferguson is hoping for his contribution to United attacking.

"Dong has improved a lot in the three years he has been with us and on loan at Antwerp. He has speed, a great physique and desire and he is improving all the time," said Ferguson, whose team was on a tour of South Africa.

Dong scored a goal to lift United to a 1-0 friendly win against Kaizer Chiefs in Cape Town on Tuesday.

"The goal Dong scored to win the game was a great example of a young player showing composure and taking his time with a chance when he could have taken it first time," said Ferguson.

Ferguson is hopeful that Dong could add another attacking option to United by the end of the upcoming season.

"He will be eligible for a European passport in December and that's good news for us. Although he may not get a permit straightaway, we can appeal and he could be a United player in nine months.

"He has now played four times for China, so that may give us grounds for appeal and he could become a good option for us," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency July 20, 2006)

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