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Rio Ferdinand believes that Zlatan Ibrahimovic can play Roy Keane role this season

by Leo Nieboer

Rio Ferdinand has noted that Zlatan Ibrahimovic could play a similar role to Roy Keane at Manchester United this season.

The big Swede, who suffered considerable knee ligament damage back in April, signed a new one year deal with Man United earlier this week.

Jose Mourinho confirmed soon after that he wouldn’t return in time for the Champions League group stages and noted he would be the “extra man” during the business end of the campaign.

And Ferdinand, speaking on BT Sport, noted that the 35-year-old will have an important psychological effect on his players similar to that of Keane.

“He came here, many people doubted him, me being one of them whether he could do it here at this age. He did in terms of goals but I think more importantly he’ll be important for the Rashfords, the Martials, the Lukakus,” he noted.

“They haven’t got a title between them. He’s got more than anyone in this squad and I think moments in January, February, when they’re sticky periods in the season and people are getting tired you’ve got someone like this to come in, to really come in to big situations and take control, be calm enough, understand the situation and guide these young players through.

“My first season at Man United I had never won a trophy. You get to about January time, just after the New Year and ‘what do we do now?’

“’Do we go for it every game? Do we take out foot off the peddle a bit? Do we make sure we ghost into games to see how games pan out? Or do we go full throttle first minute?’

“I’m looking to Roy Keane, to Gary Neville, to Ryan Giggs for the experience, the guidance, of how we approach certain games.”

It was often said that Keane was Fergie on the pitch, and it goes without saying that Zlatan is the closest incarnation of Mourinho in this current United side.

Both men bring to the table an air of conviction towards winning that cannot be communicated, nor expressed, but instead just felt. They simply have to win, and they will win. And that is the exact mentality the Portuguese will want to see percolate the rest of his United side – especially during the business end of the season where a cool, determined head is simply paramount when it comes to pursuing silverware.

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