Man United’s Ferdinand ‘still as quick as any defender in England’
QPR manager Harry Redknapp says Manchester United centre-half Rio Ferdinand is still the quickest defender in the Premier League
Harry Redknapp believes Manchester United veteran Rio Ferdinand is still one of the quickest defenders in the Premier League despite his age and injury problems.
The 32-year-old has put his previous fitness issues behind him to become a regular fixture in Sir Alex Ferguson’s starting line-up this season and recently starred alongside Jonny Evans in a 1-1 draw at Real Madrid.
The England international has looked revitalised in this term, producing a series of virtuoso displays after the Red Devils’ back four initially struggled at the start of the campaign.
Sir Alex Ferguson feels that his defender has lost some of his pace over the years, but Redknapp still believes Ferdinand is one of the fastest centre-halves in the country, with QPR tasked with finding a way past him at Loftus Road on Saturday.
“I think that Ferguson was being truthful [in saying that Ferdinand’s lost a yard of pace]. It probably makes him as quick as any other centre-half in the country,” said Redknapp.
“He’s always been a fantastic player. He’s been a top player since he was 17 really. He was just lightening quick.
“So if Alex thinks that he’s lost a yard of pace then that would bring him closer to the next fastest centre-half in the league – he’s that quick.”
Redknapp oversaw Ferdinand’s development at West Ham, with the defender earning comparisons to Hammers legend Bobby Moore during his spell at Upton Park.
And the QPR boss believes that Ferdinand, who has won five Premier League titles, the League Cup and the Champions League with the Red Devils, will be offered a new deal at United, with his current contract set to expire in the summer.
“He’d have every chance I’d imagine. He’s been a great player for United,” he added.
Ferdinand, who has not featured for England since June 2011, has not been able to earn a Three Lions recall despite his club form.
And Redknapp is adamant that the Red Devils centre-half is still among the best defenders at Roy Hodgson’s disposal despite his age.
He said: “He’s still top quality but it’s up to the manager who he picks. I don’t suppose Fergie’s too bothered that he’s not playing. Keeps him fit for United.
“We’ve got a decent group of centre halves but Rio is up there with the best.”