Rio Ferdinand ready for upcoming challenges
Rio Ferdinand insists he is fully fit and ready to steer Manchester United through a hazardous path to glory.
The England defender has been troubled by a succession of problems for the past three seasons now.
He was making only his 26th appearance of the season when he turned out in Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Arsenal on Sunday, compared to the 43 that have been amassed by central defensive partner Nemanja Vidic.
Ferdinand's most recent problem was a calf strain that kept him on the sidelines for six weeks, since when he has been rested for another couple of games by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Indeed, it would be no surprise if the 32-year-old was omitted tonight, as United look to book a Champions League showdown with Barcelona at Wembley on May 28 by seeing off Schalke.
If he does, it will only be because he wants Ferdinand fresh, because the player himself is happy with his fitness just now.
"People keep going on about how many games I have missed and compared to the usual amount I play you could say it has been a bit of a sporadic season for me," Ferdinand told United Review.
"But I have been pleased with my performances and I feel back to my best now.
"My back is fine and hopefully I can put the niggling calf problems I have had this season behind me.
"I feel good and to be involved in the big games at this stage of the season, fighting for trophies, is what you want as a footballer.
"We just need to make sure we get the job done."
If Ferdinand is left out, Chris Smalling is his likely replacement.
The England Under-21 star has enjoyed an outstanding debut campaign following his arrival from Fulham and Ferdinand is convinced that in his fellow Londoner and Northern Ireland international Jonny Evans, United already have their defence of the future.
"Chris has been fantastic," said Ferdinand.
"He and Jonny are great young players with big futures at this club.
"In time I am sure those two will be the bedrock of the team."
Latest in Sport
Pornhub: Cheeky Liverpool fan uploads Philippe Coutinho wonder-goal video to adult website
Watch the moment a basketball player reassures a small boy after a mass brawl erupted on court
Eden Hazard didn't like the champagne on offer in the Chelsea dressing room
Jon Stewart brings The Daily Show to WWE Raw as Seth Rollins pays the price for feud with TV presenter
Why Manchester City could turn to Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers if Manuel Pellegrini is dismissed
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Ed Miliband less influential than One Direction's Louis Tomlinson in official Doncaster power list
- 3 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'