• Premier League

Ferguson hopeful of Ferdinand stay

ESPN staff
January 5, 2013
Rio Ferdinand has been at Old Trafford since 2002 © Getty Images

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Rio Ferdinand is capable of playing on at the top level and is confident that the defender will sign an extension to his Manchester United contract.

Ferdinand, 34, is due to be a free agent at the end of the season and is therefore eligible to open talks with foreign clubs about a summer move.

There have previously been reports the former England international could be tempted by a stint abroad, but Ferguson says he is relaxed about the situation.

"I don't think Rio wants to leave," Ferguson is quoted as saying on the club's official website. "I don't think we're panicking about that. We are comfortable with that."

Ferdinand, who has suffered from well-publicised injury problems in the past, has appeared in 18 of United's 30 games this season, with 16 of those coming in the Premier League.

Ferguson added: "I don't think his contract issue comes into it at all. It doesn't matter if he was here for another three years, we would still be dealing with his playing time the best we can. There is no way you would be expecting him to play every four days right through a season.

"Getting rest at the right time definitely helps him. His preparation is good. He does a lot of work on his pre-match preparation now. He does yoga and a lot of other things to help him sustain his playing time.

"I have said before, he can play on. I don't think he has the same issue with his back that he had a couple of years ago. It is manageable now. That is the important thing."

Ferguson also revealed that he has been delighted with Jonny Evans' form at centre-back.

"He is the future," he said. "Nemanja [Vidic] and Rio know that. There is no doubt. His form is improving all the time. I think his experience helps. As he matures and gets experience year-by-year, he is getting better. There is no end to his improvement. He looks as if he is improving all the time. That, for us, is a great sign."

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