Sir Alex Ferguson has stated that veteran defender Rio Ferdinand still has a place in the Manchester United first-team, and that his experience will be vital in the club’s quest for honours this season.
The England international has had a frustrating start to the season,as niggling injuries have forced him to watch his side power to the top of the league from the sidelines.
Despite the performances of the team and other defenders in his absence, Ferguson still values Ferdinand as an important part of the United side.
“Rio’s [injury] record is fact. We wish it was better but we use him to our advantage when we have him available because you cannot dismiss the experience he brings,” he stated in a press conference.
“He missed a couple [of matches] after Bolton and one after West Brom but I don’t mind that because with the squad we have got we utilise him the way we want to.”
With the rise to prominence of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, and the ever-steady Jonny Evans also available, Ferdinand’s future has been put in doubt. However the Scottish coach believes that Ferdinand is still integral to the Red Devils squad.
“He walked through the game at Bolton. We are absolutely delighted with Smalling, Evans and Jones. The three of them have been absolutely magnificent. They are the long-term future.
“But there are occasions when you bring in the experience Rio offers because it does make a difference. The young players know that.
“They also know there will be a time when they are left out for the right reasons and knowing they will get better the next time they come in,” he concluded.
United take on Stoke at the Britannia in the 5.30pm kick-off on Saturday, and will look to continue their flawless record in the Premier League.
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