FanCast columnist John Tompson
is delighted that Rio Ferdinand has committed his long term future to the club
and feels he is worth every penny.
In an age where footballer's
wages are obscenely high, Alex Ferguson has his money's worth by keeping Rio
Ferdinand at Old Trafford for the rest of his playing career. Ferdinand is reported to be set to
earn £130,000 a week, but is the transfer deal-deferrer right to receive a
higher salary than 38-and-counting goal hero Cristiano Ronaldo?
After being criticised for
failing to deliver in the big matches, the Portuguese ace responded
emphatically with a vital away goal at Roma. Many were then quick to praise the
nerves of steel showed by the winger in tucking away a re-taken penalty against
Arsenal on Sunday. But
as Ronaldo gave his customary nodding-head, arms aloft celebration to the Old
Trafford faithful, it was Ferdinand who was seen screaming at his team to get
back in position while Rooney picked the ball out the Jens Lehman's goal.
Nothing more sums up the
character of Manchester United's maturity and strength this season than Rio
Injury to Vidic appeared to
be costly as the Reds defence was recently rocked by Gareth Southgate's
Middlesbrough. But the manner in which Ferdinand took on the leadership
responsibility of managing his backline against the Gunners was exemplary. His passion and visible leadership
among the Reds' backline is reminiscent of both Peter Schmeichel and Roy Keane.
The England centre-back is a
significant contributor in the manner by which United have coped in the absence
of former captain Gary Neville and why Wes Brown has been an un-sung yet
pivotal success for the Reds as a replacement right-back this season.
Although a miss-hit clearance
forced his own keeper into a stunning save to prevent Arsenal doubling their
lead on Sunday, Ferdinand was seen to react with a mere hand of
acknowledgement, barely raising an eyebrow as he maintained focus and
encouraged his side to push up field.
On such enactments of
strength in mentality, team spirit and also luck, titles are won and lost. Looking for a captain who can visibly
lead Fabio Capello? Rio's your man.