Football: Rio grand, but can the Hammers hold him?

COOL, STRONG, good in the air, comfortable on the ball, just 20 years old; no wonder Rio Ferdinand is spoken of as a fixture in England's defence for the next decade, the natural successor to West Ham's supreme hero, Bobby Moore.

Moore spent most of his career at Upton Park, international achievement bolstering his preference for familiar surroundings at a time when there was no great profit in switching allegiance.

Times change. "Who knows," Harry Redknapp replied reflectively when recent speculation about Ferdinand's future was put to him. "What we're trying to do is make the progress that will keep Rio and other young players who are coming through happy."

Ferdinand's performances may be doing wonders for Redknapp's peace of mind - "I sleep easier just knowing he's in the team," - but West Ham's manager must live with the possibility of losing him. "The way things are in football now it is difficult to keep a player when he can double, even treble his wages by going to a club that has a good chance of winning the championship."

If common sense prevails, Redknapp lives in hope that an extension of the improvement sustained since the relegation worries of two seasons ago will endear Ferdinand to the club he has grown up with. Now sixth in the Premiership after a seventh place finish last term, their realistic target is a crack at European competition.

At the risk of going overboard about a player who still has things to learn - a mistake that could hinder Michael Owen's progress - Ferdinand looks made for it.

The most glowing tribute comes from his French teammate Marc Keller who was brought up with Marcel Desailly and Lilian Thurman of his country's World Cup winning team. "Marc says that Rio will be in a different class to both of them," Redknapp added.

More than any other factor, Ferdinand's assurance under pressure enables Redknapp to risk the perils of momentum that allows the opposition room for retaliatory manoeuvre.

Saturday's 2-1 defeat of Everton clearly emphasised West Ham's ability to break. Everton were not so much transformed in the second half as realising the possibilities arising from the Hammer's eagerness to get forward.

"It became end to end stuff. We were running past each other in midfield," Redknapp added.

Behind in the 19th minute when Keller's attempted centre found their net after looping over Thomas Myrhe and striking the far post, Everton drew level when Danny Cadamarteri forced home a low centre from the substitute Nick Barmby.

Everton, however, were unable to consolidate, their goal falling again almost immediately when Trevor Sinclair launched himself at Keller's cross to head the winner.

Not that the game's fluctuations were over. Chances came at both ends and on another day Ian Wright, who foolishly got himself a mention in the referee's report for booting the ball out of play, might have been on a hat trick.

A battle of wills in midfield between Eyal Berkovic and his shadow, Olivier Dacourt, briefly went the Everton man's way when he began to spring forward, but it swung again in an exciting finale.

Not in the least troubled when he is left without frontal protection - shades of the best defender ever to wear England's colours - Ferdinand dealt calmly with crises that arose from Cadamarteri's eager surges.

Even so, West Ham almost paid for their profligate finishing when conceding a free-kick from 20 yards in the last minute.

Dacourt struck it well but Shaka Hislop, adding to the good impression he has made since arriving on a free transfer from Newcastle, turned the ball for a corner.

Walter Smith offered no excuses for a defeat that ended Everton's mini revival. "We didn't perform in the first half and after getting back into the game we threw it away with bad defending," he said.

Honours in that department went to the player whose ability causes Redknapp to drool.

"Frightening," he said.

Goals: Keller (19) 1-0; Cadamarteri (71) 1-1; Sinclair (75) 2-1.

West Ham (3-5-2): Hislop; Pearce, Ferdinand, Dicks; Sinclair, Lomas, Berkovic, Lampard, Keller; Hartson, Wright. Substitutes not used: Forrest (gk), Breacker, Potts, Omoyinmi, Lazaridis.

Everton (3-5-2): Myrhe; Bilic, Materazzi, Unsworth; Ward (Collins, 75), Grant (Barmby, 64), Dacourt, Hutchison, Cleland; Cadamateri, Madar (Branch, 64). Substitutes not used: Simonsen (gk), Farley.

Bookings: West Ham: Lomas, Wright. Everton: Dacourt, Hutchison, Bilic, Cadamarteri.

Referee: R Harris (Oxford).

Man of the match: Ferdinand.

Attendance: 25,998.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
people
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
Arts and Entertainment
Warner Bros released a mock-up of what the new Central Perk will look like
tv'Friends' cafe will be complete with Gunther and orange couch
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Junior Analyst - Graduate - 6 Month fixed term contract

£17000 - £20000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

SAS Business Analyst - Credit Risk - Retail Banking

£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...

Project Manager - Pensions

£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone