Rio Ferdinand set for Manchester United contract offer after Alex Ferguson backs down

Manager puts Kick It Out T-shirt dispute with Ferdinand down to 'communication problems'

Sir Alex Ferguson yesterday reassured Rio Ferdinand that the defender has a future at Manchester United, arguing he could remain for another two or three years at the club, and said the reason for their difference of opinion over the weekend involving the Kick It Out T-shirt was down to "communication problems".

Ferdinand's contract runs out in June and it was thought that defying his manager on Saturday combined with his inconsistent form and patchy fitness record could have led to his departure in the summer, but the Manchester United manager was in conciliatory mood yesterday ahead of tonight's Champions League home match with Portugal's Braga.

"I think Rio can play for two or three more years," he said. "He is not as quick as he was but that is not a big issue for me. His experience is important and there is no reason he can't stay on. I didn't even realise his contract was up."

That would have been a rare oversight by the United manager, although Ferdinand's form has dipped lately. He was badly exposed in last month's 3-2 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur and was at fault for Stoke City's second goal on Saturday, one that Ferguson described as "slack".

With Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones all injured, Manchester United are desperately short of central defenders and, however long Ferdinand chooses to remain in football, he will never be more valuable to Ferguson than he is now – even though he is not the footballer he once was.

The Manchester United manager has successfully cajoled Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes (left) to extend their careers longer than either might have anticipated. Nevertheless, he conceded yesterday that Ferdinand had issues with injuries that did not confront either Giggs or Scholes.

Ferguson's statement that he ought to have consulted Ferdinand before insisting that every member of his squad wore the Kick It Out T-shirts on Saturday, has defused a row that, had it continued, would have disrupted preparations for United's game at Chelsea on Sunday, one in which Ferdinand will play. "The issue," Ferguson said, "is resolved."

Nevertheless, he reminded Ferdinand that it was "important he airs his grievances to the right people through the PFA [Professional Footballers' Association] or the FA [Football Association]."

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 



Ferguson added of Ferdinand: "He has different issues from Paul [Scholes] or Ryan [Giggs] in terms of injuries over the last couple of years. He is still a great footballer and, even at 33, there is no reason why he can't stay on. We have always adopted that policy of offering one-year contracts, so we will see as the season progresses.

Ferguson went on to explain the "communication problem" with Ferdinand. "I spoke to Rio," he said. "The issue is pretty simple. He felt I should have spoken to him on Friday and I didn't anticipate there would be any problem in the dressing room as far as the T-shirt was concerned.

"I have listened to the conviction of Rio and I think it is quite compelling. I can understand his stance.

"But I think you are always stronger as a union. There's more solidarity than as a single unit.

"Obviously, as the manager of the club when you lay down policy you don't want to see it being ignored. That's where my anger came on Saturday. But we have resolved the situation, there are no lingering problems and we move on. That is the end of the matter."

Ferguson also explained his decision to rest Ferdinand, eager to avoid headlines suggesting the player had been dropped for tonight's game. "Tomorrow, so your false teeth don't fall out, I am not playing Rio," he said. "We have a game at Chelsea on Sunday, which is a big one for us, so we will leave two of the older players, Rio and Patrice Evra, out tomorrow."

Fights with Fergie

David Beckham: The final straw in their deteriorating relationship came in the dressing room after an FA Cup defeat to Arsenal in 2003, when he kicked a boot which hit Beckham above the eye. Beckham was sold soon after.

Roy Keane: Quickly ushered out of Old Trafford in November 2005 after Keane's infamous rant on MUTV, which has never been broadcast.

Jaap Stam: Sold by Ferguson in 2001 after Stam made controversial comments in his autobiography, including that he had been tapped up by United.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower