Sir Alex Ferguson glad Rio Ferdinand is finished with England

 

Sir Alex Ferguson yesterday welcomed the fact that Rio Ferdinand is unlikely to play for his country again, saying it would benefit both the 33-year-old defender and Manchester United.

Perhaps because he counts Roy Hodgson as a friend, Ferguson would not be drawn on what he thought of Ferdinand hearing that his international career was probably done via a conversation between the England manager and a passenger on the London Underground.

Nevertheless, the example of Paul Scholes, who is still playing eight years after retiring from international football, is an obvious one for Ferdinand to follow.

"I am happy because I think that at his age, Rio should be protecting himself as best he can," said the United manager. "Hopefully, by doing that, he will be far more important to me than to England." Harry Redknapp, his manager at West Ham, argued that not only did Ferdinand not need the "aggro" of playing for England; it might ensure another two years at the top.

Tomorrow, Ferdinand is likely to be part of a United defence that, already threadbare through injury, has been badly stretched in the early part of the season. If United lose at Newcastle, as they did last season, they will have suffered three defeats in their opening seven fixtures and no team has overcome that kind of start to win the Premier League.

St James' Park has, however, been a venue at which Wayne Rooney has excelled and tomorrow's game should continue the pairing with Robin van Persie that proved decisive in Tuesday's Champions League win in Cluj. Ferguson argued United would need both to be at their best if they are to regain the title. "In my experience you need two strikers who are going to get you 20 goals a season each," he said. "If you have that, then you have a really good chance of the title."

United's weak defence: St James' Park jinx

* Manchester United have struggled in defence so a trip to Newcastle, where they have kept just four clean sheets in their last 19 visits, could trouble them. They have conceded first in six of nine matches this season, though have recovered to win in four of those.

* MU victories after conceding first

25 Aug Fulham (h) PL Won 3-2

2 Sep So'ton (a) PL Won 3-2

23 Sep Liverpool (a) PL Won 2-1

2 Oct FCR Cluj (a) CL Won 2-1

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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests