Sunday, 30 September 2012

Rio Ferdinand Winning Battle For New United Deal

Rio FerdinandOld stager Rio Ferdinand is winning his battle to land a new deal at Manchester United.

And Roy Hodgson's refusal to pick him for England is helping his cause.

Ferdinand, 33, is in the final year of his latest deal and sweating on his future.

But Alex Ferguson still considers him a key player at Old Trafford and today suggests the way the defender has changed his game has opened the door for an extended stint with United.

The Scot said: "If he looks after himself, and he is doing that well now by managing the situation with his back, there is no reason why he can't play on.

"He is using his experience now. Six or seven years ago, he had such a great change of pace, he used to almost leave it until the last second or turn the gas on to get there.

"Now he can't do that. As everyone does, he is losing his pace as he gets older and he is using his experience to compensate for that. 

"He is not taking any chances now."

Ferdinand still needs to prove to the club's money men that he is over the back injury that dogged him a couple of seasons ago before securing a one-year deal.

When he's fit, the defender is still first on Fergie's team sheet and ironically he is being overworked at the moment to compensate for injuries to his younger colleagues Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.

Not that Ferguson is going to push him too hard, especially now rookie Scott Wootten is being considered as a first team possibility.

"You get back injuries in your thirties, you have to be concerned with that, but as I say, we manage it well," Ferguson said.

"He did fantastically well for us against Liverpool. Touch wood, we don't have great issues with injuries with him because he will be vital for us this year.

"When he first started with the back problems, he was out for longer periods. 

"Now, we just take care in the training, he is doing the yoga, all these things are contributing to him being fit and that's good."

Ferguson does not expect Ferdinand to push for a recall to the England side, even though Hodgson is looking for an experienced stopper in the wake of John Terry's retirement.

He dismissed talk that the defender was keen for a return after two years in the international wilderness.

The Reds boss said: "I don't know if that is actually correct, no. 

"He could do the job, I have no doubt about that. But I don't see why he should. I think he should concentrate on his career here."

See Rio in action here:

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