Team-mates hail Rio Ferdinand's form for Manchester United

 

Rio Ferdinand may be surplus to requirements for Roy Hodgson, but his Manchester United team-mates are thankful to have him around.

Again left out of the England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, Ferdinand was on the right track in Newcastle yesterday.

The 33-year-old showed all the old poise to stroll through a 3-0 win over Alan Pardew's men that kept United in touch with early Barclays Premier League pace-setters Chelsea.

Afforded more protection by United's new diamond formation than he got the previous weekend against Tottenham's speedsters, Ferdinand showed he remains a class act.

Not that the United dressing room ever felt otherwise.

"Rio is quality," said defensive colleague Jonny Evans.

"He is so experienced. He cruises through games.

"He comes off at the end and there is not a bit of sweat on him. It looks like could play on and on."

That is the style Ferdinand adopts when he is at his best.

It is the reason why there were calls for him to be recalled by Hodgson for the forthcoming games with San Marino and Poland.

Sir Alex Ferguson is doubtless glad Hodgson has chosen a different route given the delicate nature of his defensive resources, even when Chris Smalling gets ready to return from his broken metatarsal after the international break.

Nevertheless, the defence of Hodgson's position, if not by him then by others who share the same opinion, has brought criticism Tom Cleverley cannot fathom.

"Rio has had one bad game in six months," said the midfielder, who scored United's brilliant third, even if his manager insists he did not mean in.

"We have conceded a few goals and made a few silly mistakes this season.

"But I couldn't believe some of the stuff I have read about Rio in midweek.

"He has definitely not deserved that."

Repelling the threat of Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse should provide a welcome confidence boost for United after their disastrous attempts to subdue Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon during that damaging home defeat by Tottenham eight days previously.

The ease with which Spurs cut straight down the middle of United's midfield at Old Trafford prompted a tactical rethink from Sir Alex Ferguson that involved Wayne Rooney adopting a deep-lying midfield role.

And it seems to be working, even if Ferguson accepts there are issues that have to be taken into account.

"The diamond closes off the midfield," he said.

"Your only problem is when the ball goes out wide because you need to be aware of how far your midfield gets separated.

"But if you try to keep the tightness in midfield, the opposition has to go wide."

Even at this early stage of the season, it was a big win for United.

Going into the game seven points behind Chelsea, whom they visit on October 28, they knew anything other than a victory would put them in trouble.

"Seven points is a big gap and if we had dropped more points it would have been a big task," said Evans.

"Although it is still early on in the season, you don't want to give a team that kind of advantage."

There was an additional piece of good news for United today with striker Robin van Persie not facing any sanction for his second-half clash with Yohan Cabaye during yesterday's game.

Referee Howard Webb reviewed the incident again this morning after initially missing it and decided it was not worthy of a straight red card.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
News
Lars Ulrich of Metallica performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
music
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
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

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game