Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed in his press conference Tuesday that Rio Ferdinand will replace suspended Nemanja Vidic at center back for the Champions League group fixture against Otelul Galati.
After being dropped for United’s game against Everton last weekend, a lot of journalists jumped to conclusions saying Fergie no longer regards Rio Ferdinand in his first-choice center back pairing. It was reported that Sir Alex actually said this during the conference, but that wasn’t true. However, he clearly gave a few hints provoking the conclusions.
“What I explained to Rio the other day is simply this: That we have two young centre-halves coming through and I’m have very happy to have four of them, and I hope to keep the four of them for a long time,” said Ferguson. “Rio is almost 33 now and obviously he has lost a yard of pace he had five years ago. That doesn’t mean to say he can’t tailor his game in a different way. Whereas he used to rely on his pace, he doesn’t do that now, he can’t do that now, that’s obvious. We’ve all faced that deciding moment in your career when you realise you have to change your game. I did it myself as a player when I lost that real sharpness and tailored my game differently. Rio will do the same and he’ll be fine. He will still play a big part for us.”
I think Ferguson hits the nail right on the head with those comments. We have all seen, particularly this season, that Rio Ferdinand isn’t the player he used to be. He has had numerous injury problems throughout his career while making 368 appearances for the club, so far. And with Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans all working hard trying to impress, Ferguson has to do what’s best for the club.