Rio Ferdinand confirms his intention to continue playing with Manchester United beyond the end of the season ad dispels talk of his retirement

Ferdinand is out of contract at the end of the season but the defender is targeting at least another year on the pitch but will have to wait for United to appoint a new manager first

Rio Ferdinand has confirmed his intention to continue his playing career with Manchester United beyond the end of the season, and has hinted that he feels if he can maintain his current levels of fitness he could still go on for another two or three years.

Ferdinand is out of contract with United at the end of the season, and while talks have not yet begun over an extension, the defender admits the club have more pressing concerns to handle first as they search for a new permanent manager to succeed David Moyes.

Under interim manager Ryan Giggs, Ferdinand returned to the starting line-up last week for the 4-0 victory over Norwich, and Ferdinand told BT Sport in an exclusive interview that he is still enjoying his football and dispelled recent reports that he is considering retirement from the game altogether.

“I feel fit, I feel healthy, I feel good,” said Ferdinand. “I'm enjoying my football so I'll definitely be playing on for another year, hopefully two or three more.  But I'll take it year by year and hopefully another year.”

The 35-year-old, who joined United from Leeds in 2002 for a then British-record of £30m, went on to reveal that talks are yet to start with the club.

 

“I think it's the same as last season, we didn't thrash things out until the real last week of the season, I think it was,” Ferdinand added. “But this year's obviously different with the managerial position not sorted out yet.  So my situation comes way shorter down the list than that which is expected. 

“So I'll obviously be waiting, playing the games until the end of the season and see what happens.  See if a new manager comes in or Giggsy gets the job or whoever, we'll have to wait and see.”

He added: “The most important thing is the club and the club's position with who they go with and once that's sorted out then everything else can take place after.  As I said I'm happy here, I love playing my football.  Manchester United's been great for me, it's enabled my dreams to come true and a lot of the things in football for me. So I have to respect whatever decision the club do and I'll do what's best by the club.”

Having been his team-mate for the past 12 years, Ferdinand now finds himself answering to Giggs until the end of the season, with Moyes seeing his 10-month reign at Old Trafford come to an end two weeks ago.

While Ferdinand admits that the season has been a major disappointment, he feels that the appointment of those members of the famed ‘Class of 92’ now leading the club has lifted spirits among the squad.

“The season hasn't gone to plan, it hasn't gone as well as what we want it as a club,” he admitted. “You don't like looking at the league table. When you're top of the league or fighting for the league you're always looking at the table, every morning you wake up, it's in your mind. Right now it's not something you want to look at, it's not pretty.

“So it's not been good in that sense and we want to see it improving and obviously the changing of management, Giggsy and Scholesy, Butty, Phil and the others are in charge now and it's been good. It's been 10 days or so now we've had with them, enjoying the training and stuff. Giggsy seems to have taken to it really well.”

With the 40-year-old player-coach now beginning his managerial career, does Ferdinand feel that the Welsh veteran has let the power go to his head and prevent the players from addressing him by his nickname?

“No it's Giggsy. We had a meeting first, he called a meeting and at the end of the meeting it went quite silent and I said look, what do we call you then? Gaffer? Giggsy? What? He said just call me Giggsy, I'm alright like that. But he's parking in the manager's spot now, so he's getting comfortable!” Ferdinand said.

Rio Ferdinand was speaking on the BT Sport show, SportsHUB. BT Sport is free with BT broadband, to find out more visit www.btsport.com

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