Last updated : 01 August 2004 By Editor

SAF: "The way Rio has handled everything has taken me by surprise really, because you never know how someone is going to react to that kind of situation.

"There's almost a comparison with how Eric Cantona handled his six-month ban a few years ago in the way Rio has trained with such devotion and dedication.

"I have to say I have never been more impressed with any player facing a long absence from the game like that. From the minute he was suspended, he seemed to put it right out of his mind and concentrate on one thing and one thing only - proving himself.

"He has been absolutely phenomenal in training, absolutely brilliant and that has pleased me so much.

"In the six months so far, he has only missed about four days' training - that's amazing.

"He hasn't once asked for a day off and, apart from when the club gave him a week off in April to take his family to Mauritius, he's been at the training ground with the rest of the lads, joining in with everything as normal.

"That shows a special type of courage and character, and I am looking forward to being able to put his name on the team sheet again.

"Will I consider using him straight away? Absolutely. He's too good to be out of the team for long.

"Whether it's that day against Liverpool, or soon after, will depend on how we are playing but I know he will be ready.''