Sunday, 8 April 2012

Fergie counting on Rio Ferdinand to Deliver Title

Rio Ferdinand
Alex Ferguson is counting on Rio Ferdinand to guide Manchester United to the title - just months after the rest of football was writing him off.
The Reds defender's days looked numbered as a serious back problem curtailed the amount of games he could play.
Ferguson brought in Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to spark suggestions that Ferdinand was on his last legs.

And when the injury issues continued to dog his season, there were fears time was about to be called on the defender's Old Trafford stint.

But a remodelling of his game has given Ferdinand a new lease of life and now Ferguson is talking up an England come back for the Euros and at least 12 more months of service with United.

Fergie explained: ``He has had to change his game. He can't rely on his pace the way he used to as a kid.

``Then he was such a pure athlete and was so mobile he could outrun anyone. He used to take advantage of that.

``He can't do that now so his positioning has improved and he plays a bit deeper than he used to.

``Even though he was more of an athlete in his younger days he would make the odd mistake through his casualness.

``He had that wee trait in him, didn't he. Now you don't get any mistakes at all.''

And it's that ability to remain faultless in big games that has Ferguson believing Ferdinand would be an asset for England in this summer's Euros.

The classy stopper amassed the last of his 81 caps in the 2-2 draw with Switzerland last June.

But his Reds boss insisted: ``Rio is as good as any centre-half in England. Him and John Terry are the only experienced defenders England have got.

``All the rest are young really. I don't think there is any experienced centre-backs around to challenge them.

``But he has not been in the squad and that is a decision for the next England manager. If it was me I would take him for his experience alone.''

Even if Ferdinand is not on the plane to the Ukraine, he can look forward to another year in the first team fold with United.

A new training regime - that allows him to rest up during the week - is helping ease his back problem and extend his career.

``We don't train him every day,'' Ferguson added. ``We have a quiet day, as we call it. He should be ok for another season anyway, I would think. He is only 34 in November.

``But right now his experience is a vital part of his game. I think he has gone a long way to helping Jonny Evans come on and the young goalkeeper.

``He has had a lot of responsibility with Vidic being out. His form is probably his most consistent for a long time.

``And I think the experience counts throughout the team at the moment. Not just Rio but Evra, Scholes, Giggs and Carrick. Those five represent a lot of experience and we expect them to be right on top of their job.''

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