Rio Ferdinand discusses his fitness, his future and the balance between attack and defence in an exclusive interview, first published in Inside United ...
You had your longest summer of your career prior to this season – have you felt the benefit?
Yeah I think so but to be honest I’ll have a better idea of that in December/January time when the games start coming thick and fast. That’s when it really hits you and you know the hard work really has to start and you begin to think about the home stretch. I’ll probably get a better gauge of where I’m at [fitness-wise] and the benefit of having the summer off then.
Sir Alex has said he can see you continuing for another season – do you feel as if you can?
It’s always good to hear the manager say things like that, but you just take every week and every month as it comes. The best thing to do will be to look at it at Christmas and then again in the summer to see how I’m feeling and go from there. But hearing the manager say things like that definitely puts the spring back in your step.
How do you assess the start to the season from a personal and team perspective?
From a personal perspective things have gone alright. It’s been good to get back playing. I missed a couple of games at the beginning of the season which was unfortunate after getting a good pre-season under my belt, but I feel better now and I’m back into my stride. Team-wise I think you always need a few games at the start of the campaign to get into your perfect rhythm and up until the game against Newcastle we’d been a bit open and playing in that way of ‘we attack, you attack.’ But I think the performance against Newcastle signalled a bit of a change in mentality from us and hopefully that’s a taste of things to come for the rest of the season. If we can maintain that kind of form I believe we’ve got a really good chance of being successful this season.
What changed in that game?
I don’t know to be honest. Sometimes things just click into place and we just felt very secure in that game and it felt very much like the Manchester United of old, from a couple of years ago. I think we’d got in a position this season, a bit like we did at the start of last season, where we were just playing open, expansive football and expecting to score three or four goals and not really concentrating as we should on our defending. This league is