Rio Ferdinand meets Bruno Fernandes

Rio Ferdinand drops in at Carrington

Monday 20 February 2023 16:30

There was a familiar face at Manchester United's training ground on Monday, as Erik ten Hag's side returned to work following the 3-0 win over Leicester City.

Former Reds defender Rio Ferdinand dropped in on the group to watch training, with focus beginning to turn towards Thursday's huge Europa League play-off second leg against Barcelona.

The tie is in the balance following a scintillating 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp, with Ten Hag asking fans to turn Old Trafford into a cauldron this week - as they did 15 years ago, when Rio captained us to a 1-0 Champions League semi-final win over the same opposition.

While Ten Hag insists we're taking things game by game, there's the small matter of Sunday's Carabao Cup final with Newcastle United at Wembley to look forward to as well.

Rio's a man who knows all about pressure, skippering United to victory in major finals - including Moscow in 2008 - and lifting 14 trophies during his 12-year Old Trafford stay.

He was at Carrington in his capacity as a BT Sport pundit, to interview Bruno Fernandes, but the ex-England international also met with the rest of the squad and no doubt offered a word of wisdom or two to our current vintage.

Rio, who retired from football in 2015 following a short stint with Queens Park Rangers, is still a passionate observer of United and that's evident both from his media appearances and social media output.

Last Thursday, he lauded a 'fit, focused, direct, confident, deadly and potent' Marcus Rashford during our clash with Barcelona in Catalonia.

'Marcus Rashford is on smoke!'


See which United legend was waxing lyrical about our on-fire forward during the draw with Barcelona.

He also recently highlighted the flawless manner in which Lisandro Martinez has adjusted to the demands of playing centre-back in the Premier League.

"On form right now, I don't think there's really much argument coming from anywhere else," Ferdinand said on his FIVE YouTube channel.

"I think he's dominant, he's aggressive, he's a leader, he communicates well, he shows character, he's there in big moments."

Big moments are indeed coming for this United side, starting this week, and let's hope we can navigate them as well as Rio did during his own career. Good to see you again!