Rio Ferdinand names surprise player as one of toughest opponents he’s faced

Rio Ferdinand came up against the best strikers the Premier League had to offer during his trophy laden 12-year stint at Manchester United.

The legendary United defender formed one of the best centre-back partnerships the league has ever seen alongside Serbian monster Nemanja Vidic at Old Trafford.

Strikers would seldom get the better of the pair who prided themselves on the fear they put into the opposition attack.

However, all players have their weaknesses and Ferdinand has admitted he struggled with one forward in particular – and it isn’t who you might think.

Ferdinand also claims he was never troubled by Liverpool’s Fernando Torres, who was one of a select few who got the upper hand on his partner Vidic on more than one occasion.

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“There’s always going to be that one player in your career who’s difficult,” he told Beautiful Game podcast, as quoted by Football365.

“He might not be the best player on the planet, but his style is made to hurt your style. And Torres might have just been that for Nemanja.

“He’s someone he found difficult to play against. And he’s probably the only player I’ve seen consistently give Vida a hard time, and he got sent off in a couple of the games didn’t he, early on in the games.

“But with me one-v-one, he didn’t cause me any problems if I’m honest. That’s just the way it is.

“One of my hardest strikers to play against when people ask me – other than the ones that are obvious, like Ronaldo and Messi – was Kevin Davies. You would never expect that.

“But he was always tough to play against for me, always caused me the most problems. He always was physical, just obstructing you all the time.”

Players like Kevin Davis are, probably by their own admission, not some of the most talented forwards to have graced the league, but they have the nouse to use their body in a way to frustrate opposition defenders.

Bolton legend Davis made a surprise England appearance during the twilight of his career.

Watford captain Troy Deeney is the modern day Premier League striker that can be compared to Davis for the nuisance he makes himself throughout the 90 minutes.

Ferdinand was intelligent enough to deal with some of the most accomplished virtuosos the league has seen, and it’s definitely surprising to see him a name a less prolific forward as one of the toughest opponents he has faced.

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