Get ya guns out son! (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
He may be 33 years old, but Manchester United are set to offer Rio Ferdinand a new contract to extend his stay. His current deal runs out next summer, and despite his advancing years, he is still an important member of the squad. For proof of this, look at last nights game. As soon as we went off the defense went from solid, to nervy and mistakes started creeping in.
There have been reports that the England CB may have to take a pay cut however. The Guardian thinks this is due to his injury record and his age. And he has been plagued by injury. Nothing serious, but his troublesome back has caused him to miss games and this disrupts the back four balance. And he has certainly lost a yard of pace. But he still is a fantastic defender. His terrific positioning makes up for any loss of pace, and his calmness on the ball makes him suited to our possession heavy game. Last night for instance he made 12 out of 12 long passes. Not many CB's can compete with that.
It is hard to beleive that he has been a Red Devil for almost 10 years now. Brought from Leeds, he soon was hit with an 8 month ban for a missed drug test. On his return to the first team, he put in a brilliant performance against Liverpool of all teams, going the whole 90 minutes. One of my favouroute performances by a Manchester united player.
Sir Alex Ferguson also thinks highly of him. Here is some recent quotes.
"He has taken on that role of the influential person in the dressing room. He’s great in the dressing room with the players.
"That’s the advantage you have if you can keep players long enough for the influence to spread. In the modern game, as we know, it’s difficult to keep players for more than five or six years. But the longer they stay here the better the influence spreads to them and they can maybe take over from the older players as they disappear."
"It [Rio’s form] has not surprised me in the sense that he’s still young for a centre-back. In normal terms you would expect a centre-back with his athleticism to play well into their thirties anyway,"
Source - Manchester United's official website
So, despite him being one of the elder statesman of our squad, I for one still think he is an integral part of our team. And he can still play for a few years yet to the highest standard.