After a difficult few seasons a few years ago, many wondered, myself included, if Rio Ferdinand could ever be the player he once was. He has answered the doubters with a resounding yes after a fantastic season, and should hopefully be rewarded with a new contract in the not too distant future.
United have had a lot of defensive problems this year, injuries to Smalling, Jones, Evans and Vidic at various points, but Rio, the ‘injury prone’ one, has been involved throughout. Ferguson and the United medical team have managed his condition through periods of rest when needed. This was highlighted when Rio regained his international place but withdrew from the squad as he had a Pre planned programme.
However the fact Rio was selected for England again after being neglected after the John Terry saga, highlights the form that Rio has shown throughout the season.
Despite him losing a few yards of pace over the years, Ferdinand has amended his game. He reads it even better than he used to, and is still as calm and composed on the ball.
Ferdinand has always had a good partnership, with the Captain, Nemanja Vidic, but after his knee injuries over the last 18 months, Rio seems to have also made an excellent understanding with Jonny Evans. A player of Rio’s quality and experience is a real asset in the squad, especially to our young centre backs, Jones, Smalling and Evans.
Rumours still persist to whether Rio will be at the club next season. I certainly hope so as after such a fantastic season, it would be a massive miss to the club for who he has played at for over 10 years. He has been granted a testimonial game which is being planned at present.
For me, Rio’s season has been summed up perfectly in that tricky away game at Spurs. He played like a leader and put in some excellent last ditch tackles. Sadly, for him though, United eventually conceded an injury time equaliser.