“Sir Alex allows you, with other members of staff like the sports science department and physios, to try and work out the way to manage yourself. Some managers do put [pressure] on players to be fit all the time. I’ve been in that situation where I think I need to be fit, I really need to be fit and you almost become a hindrance to the team. It’s great for me to get that comfort from the manager. I think, as an older player, you need that towards the end of your career.” Rio Ferdinand
Gareth Bale? Cristiano Ronaldo? No. David Moyes couldn’t have possibly made a better first signing than Rio Ferdinand.
Timely tackles, composure on the ball, positioning and an uncanny ability to read the game superbly have all proven to be the strengths in what Sir Alex Ferguson called Ferdinand’s ‘best season at the club’.
Within a season, 34-year-old Ferdinand has defied the odds to beat every one of his critics who once insisted that a move to America would have suited him as expectations at a club like United meant that his days at were numbered.
Several months on and Rio Ferdinand was selected in the PFA Team of the Year. He is a player that few would argue to call the current best centre back in the Premier League and, fittingly, he scored the final goal at Old Trafford in the Sir Alex Ferguson era – his first in over five years.
Earlier in the season, Rio Ferdinand had turned down his first England call-up since 2011 due to an ‘intricately pre-planned programme’ that has seen him overcome his injury woes this year, and the club has reaped the rewards.
His one year contract extension is fully deserved and it means that next year, Ferdinand will be playing into his 12th season at the club and keeping that sort of experience in the dressing room is why this is the perfect way for Moyes to start his era as manager.
With 68 and a half years of experience gone from the club through the departures of Ferguson, Paul Scholes, Eric Steele and Mike Phelan, the experience that has been present at the club for many years must be maintained for the continued success that United seems to breathe every year.
The Ryan Giggs’, Michael Carrick‘s and Rio Ferdinand’s of the squad are ever-so vital in the start of this new era for United under David Moyes to guide the team home for the new breed of talents that have the potential to take the world by storm in the coming years.
There is plenty of fire left in Ferdinand’s belly and going into the unknown next year, United will need our experienced players more than ever to step up and be heard.