Rio Ferdinand sat down with Nick Coppack earlier this season to talk about the finer details of defending, in an interview for FourFourTwo magazine. Here are some extracts.
What other attributes are essential in order to make it to the top?
I'd say the three most important qualities are the ability to read the game well, confidence and concentration. And those are all things that come with experience. It's hard to teach that on the training ground.
Talking must be key to keeping concentration levels high...
Definitely. That's the tactic I use. I keep talking all through the game. Even if I'm talking rubbish – and often I am! - I just keep going. It helps to keep yourself on your toes and also your fellow defenders. You're barking instructions - “left”, “right”, “step up” - that are designed to help your team-mates but at the same time they help keep you alert. Lapses in concentration are the most common errors among young defenders. And that leads to basic errors. The ball goes wide, they follow the ball, turn their body the wrong way, forget where their man is. Or the ball gets played into a channel and they're not switched on enough to react quickly and the striker steals a march on them. Of all the