Ferdinand and Fletcher sign new deals but not with Manchester United

By at 1:38 am 13/05/2013

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BT Sport have announced a whole new team of footballing personalities to provide coverage for next season’s Barclays Premier League.

Michael Owen, Steve McManaman, David James and Ian Darke are just a few listed to join the team and among them are Manchester Rio Ferdinand and Darren Fletcher.

Ferdinand will provide BT Sport with punditry and will take a role as interviewer and programme maker. Fletcher will become a co-commentator alongside ex-United striker Michael Owen, who retires from football at the end of this season.

Whilst new opportunities like this are great for the players, what does it mean for their playing careers?

Fletcher will most likely retire at the end of this campaign with his chronic bowel condition limiting his game time to a bare minimum and Fletcher recently admitted that he faces a battle every day to stop the condition coming back.

It is such a shame for the 29-year-old because he was such a fantastic footballer before being struck down with illness. Football aside, we all hope he can fully recover in his own health and the mere fact that Ferguson sent him a personal message during his farewell United speech speaks volumes for how highly he is regarded by everyone at the club.

But what about Ferdinand? This season has arguably been one of his best in a United shirt. His consistency at the back has been a key part in United’s 20th league winning campaign and he was recently named in the PFA Team of the Year.

The 34-year-old admitted in the post-match celebrations yesterday that he is looking for United to give him a contract extension next season and I think we would be stupid not to offer it to him, but now he’ll have to balance his playing career with BT Sport commitments as well as his own #5 Magazine.

Ferdinand has played fantastic this season because of how well he has managed his fitness. A strict regime have kept him off the injury table and atop the Premier League table but, depending on how often he has to get involved, it could hinder him maintaining that regime.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens at the end of the season in all respects, not just Ferdinand’s future as Ferguson, Gill, Scholes and many more are set to depart.

It’s certainly going to be a summer in which Manchester United undergo a huge transition on many levels with a new manager, coaching staff and players retiring. United fans can only hope that whichever choice Ferdinand makes, it’s the right one for both him and the club.

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