It’s time for Rio to step aside

Back in 2002, Rio Ferdinand was the cream of the crop. Having just secured a big money move from Leeds United to rivals Manchester United, big things were expected of the Peckham born centre-back.

It’s fair to say that Ferdinand, despite his controversies off the pitch including an eight month ban having missed a drugs test, has successful amounted to the potential that was shown in him as a youngster.

The now 34-year-old has, at the time of writing, picked up 13 winners medals during his time with Old Trafford, including five Premier League titles and a Champions League trophy. Yet, now in his mid 30’s, it’s fair to say that Ferdinand’s best years are behind him.

Numerous times this season, the defender has regularly been caught out against players that are now quicker than him; an aspect of Ferdinand’s game that was vital to his game. Against Tottenham Hotspur, for example, the England defender was comfortably brushed past by Gareth Bale for the North Londoner’s second goal in the 3-2 win over United.

While Ferdinand still possesses all the attributes to succeed in the heart of the United defence, many would be right in proclaiming that Sir Alex Ferguson can call upon the younger model of the impressive centre-back.

In the form of Chris Smalling, the veteran Scot already had a like-for-like replacement for Ferdinand when the time comes to ship him out of Old Trafford. However, with United’s leaky defence this year, the sooner the transition is made, the better it could be for the Manchester giants.