When Rio Ferdinand burst onto the scene with West Ham, veteran defender Neil Ruddock took the youngster under his wing. Ever since, he’s watched with admiration as Rio has realised his potential…
Was it evident that he was something special?
Yeah, you could see it even then. You can see a good player, but Rio Ferdinand could play in any position on the pitch, even at international level. He can play along the back four, along the midfield but I won’t say up front because he is one of the worst finishers I’ve ever seen in my life! He’s scored a few, but he can’t beat me on goal scoring.
How did he fit into the dressing room?
He was brilliant. When the lads were 15 or 16, Harry used to let them train with the first team because he knew them, so we had the likes of Rio, Michael Carrick and Joey Cole. They were around the first team dressing room, so when they came into team they were already one of the chaps and one of the lads, so it wasn’t a hard transformation for them.
Was he intimidated by some of the character in that dressing room?
He is a south London boy, Rio, so he could hold his own and he knew the score. The banter with West Ham was brilliant. One of my favourite teams that I played for was Tottenham, the