According to reports in the Sunday papers, Rio Ferdinand is considering quitting international football in a bid to prolong his United career.
The former United skipper has enjoyed the best of times under England boss Fabio Capello and is now not even certain of a place in the Italian’s team.
There was the captaincy debacle, the pre-world cup injury and then being dropped altogether. It seems since Capello took charge Rio’s had little or nothing to be happy about. If I’m completely honest, that doesn’t really bother me, I’ve grown tired of the England circus and can barely raise the interest to even watch them on the television anymore.
My concern is how Rio’s international experiences affect his United performances and the time has now come to call time on an England career that is in danger of ending anyway. Ferdinand managed just 32 league appearances over the past two full seasons, which is nowhere near enough for such a dominant defensive figure.
Recently Rio’s performances have been quite frankly abysmal, and I take no pleasure in criticising one of the greatest defenders United have ever had.
The Basel game, was arguably Rio’s worst ever game for United, although it should be noted he had only just returned from -yet another- injury. Last week after the derby, the venom of most fans seemed to be aimed at Jonny Evans no doubt due to his sending off. What led to that sending off though? A weak header from Ferdinand. It was a terrible United performance, but Rio was probably more culpable than anyone for the margin of defeat.
Put simply Ferdinand is injured too often and takes too long getting back into the swing of things, to be risking picking up knocks for England. There’s a strong chance the former Leeds man could actually be on his way out of Old Trafford in the Summer if things don’t improve.
I personally wouldn’t want to see him leave as I think he may well have another season or two in him and he’s obviously a massive character in the dressing room who seems to help all the players bond.
If Ferdinand were to persist with an England career, that like the national team itself, is going nowhere, then I think Sir Alex may decide it’s better for both Rio and United if he puts a bid in for the Euro 2012 squad, playing for someone else.
I know Rio is proud to play for his country but he’s 33 next week and like his Serbian defensive partner, needs to realise that it’s United who pay his wages and to be blunt, the fans deserve better than the mediocre performances he’s been putting in of late. If international retirement. helps his United career- even just slightly, which I believe it will, then I think Ferdinand needs to do the right thing and call it a day at 81 caps.