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Jonny Evans has given Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan a boost just under two weeks out from the new Premier League season.
The Northern Ireland defender had ankle surgery this summer after sustaining an injury late last campaign but is now back in training and could be fit for the season opener at Everton on August 20.
However, Phelan said that Evans' defensive mate Chris Smalling still has some fitness work to do before he comes back from an operation on a broken foot.
"At the moment, Chris Smalling is going to be a bit longer in his recovery," he said. "He's had a setback, an injury, and he's progressing slowly.
"Jonny Evans will hopefully be available when we get back [from Europe]. He's back doing light work on the training ground. We hope he'll be available for the start of the season.
"He won't have had the games under his belt but if he's fit and progressing well we'll push him forward."
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