As we near the end of the 2012/13 campaign I find myself pondering all things ‘Rio’.
Back in September, having been ripped for speed by Gareth Bale in a crushing 3-2 home defeat to Spurs, how many of the United faithful thought it was the end for our number five and got on the Jonny Evans bandwagon? Come on, put your hands up if you were team Jonny?
I can tell you now – I certainly did not put my hand up, and since that match, Ferdinand has been faultless.
A candidate for player of the year? It will be hard not to give it to Carrick but Rio is certainly up there. Carrick, Rio, Van Persie are my one, two, three.
Ferdinand has played in all of the big games – proved his fitness for long spells of the season and overall, been a rock at the back.
At the top of my Rio agenda is this burning issue – why hasn’t he been locked into a year extension on his current deal at Old Trafford?
Rumours surface every so often that he is to be offered a new contract. Then these rumours vanish and more rumours circulate that he is ready to follow in the path of David Beckham and move to the MLS.
We all know Rio has interests outside of football other than Xbox and Nandos.
He runs a successful magazine, he has his own clothing range, he has been involved in movies as an executive producer…. what about this doesn’t scream Hollywood?
The fundamental point is that nothing official has been announced from the player or the club and as of the summer, he can simply move on. A tragic thought to say the least.
Has this season been his swan song or can he do a Giggsy and carry on not only playing at the top, but being the best of those playing at the top?
Once tipped the be long term Manchester United and England captain, the London born defender has lost out for both club and country mainly due to injury – something which I have found to be farcical to say the least.
Sir Alex has gone on record stating Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra were both selected ahead of Rio Ferdinand in the captain pecking order simply because they play more games. Whilst I agree every club needs a stability in the form of a regular captain, I have never been able to lose the niggling thought that Ferdinand is more influential than both his Serbian and French team-mates.
To define what I mean by influential – I am a firm believer that Rio Ferdinand is a more authoritative footballer.
When Rio talks, everybody listens. When Rio plays well, everybody around him ups their game.
I for one second am not suggesting Vidic or Evra aren’t in any way great choices. Both are leaders of men and would do anything for the team, the club and most importantly, the manager. Both world class players. A phrase I rarely use.
It is simply in the make-up of Manchester United that there are half a dozen captains on the field at one time – but you can hardly say Vidic has been a regular starter – and whilst Evra has hardly missed a game for two years, he falls well short of the leadership skills on offer from Ferdinand.
Even Captain Marvel himself backs up my argument that a great leader isn’t always fit. Anybody who knows anything about United in the 80’s will know what I mean.
For me, Rio should have been our club captain ever since the departure of Gary Neville.
A question to the FA. Why did it take so long for Rio to be recalled?
Is it because John Terry is now fully out of the international picture so you can rest assured there will be no conflict in the camp?
What happens when Terry starts playing again – do you drop Rio Ferdinand?
I am glad Rio has pulled out of this England squad due to his training regime. If I was Rio Ferdinand, I would have told the FA where to stick their recall – but I am not Rio Ferdinand.
Despite what the Twitter warriors or the boys on TalkSport suggest, and despite what I had hoped – I cannot see Rio pulling out of this squad as a means of revenge.
A man who has always been proud to represent his country. A man who has missed major tournaments for the worst possible reasons. Rio Ferdinand, like 99% of footballers out there – would do anything to be on the plane to Brazil.
I fear there is still a lot of mileage in the international saga. Mileage which will probably run right up until the squad for World Cup 2014 is announced.
Whether it be Twitter rants, sarcastic clapping at officials, fans attempting to attack him or online banter with fat TV presenters who support Arsenal, Rio will never keep his opinion to himself. He is a passionate individual who stands up for what he believes in.
I would be very surprised if he managed to avoid the spot light for the remainder of his career.
None of this bothers me if he keeps performing the way he has been.
Fergie, get him signed on for another year.
Not out of sentiment. Not because of his fun tour camera for MUTV. Not because he interacts well with fans.
Sign him up because he is still an exceptional defender.
To respond to me directly I am on Twitter: @NathonW
For all United news and banter: @RFFH