Manchester United: The Eventual Aging of Rio Ferdinand

Connor McKnightSenior Analyst IOctober 1, 2012

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 23:  Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United celebrates after the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on September 23, 2012 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Rio Ferdinand has been at the top of English football for his time in a Manchester United uniform. Known across the EPL for his defensive and tackling abilities, he has long been regarded as one of the best defenders in the league.

However, at the start of the 2012-2013 football season, it has become apparent that Rio Ferdinand is no longer the player he once was.

In Manchester United's 3-2 loss to Tottenham Hotspur, Ferdinand had a difficult time defending against the young, explosive attack of Villas-Boas' starting XI.

Gareth Bale was a nightmare of Ferdinand. The 23-year-old Welsh star, known for his tremendous pace, blew past Ferdinand on many occasions. In the 32nd minute of the match, Bale used his pure speed to burst past Ferdinand and the defense to put in the second goal of the match. It gave Tottenham a 2-0 lead.

While it is apparent that Ferdinand still has the knowledge of the game that allowed for his emergence as a defensive star, his age and injury are really starting to show. Without Nemanja Vidic, the Red Devil back four loses its glamor.

As a veteran, Ferdinand takes on a leadership role, but against Tottenham, his performance was subpar.

Especially with United's status in Europe and their Champions League fixtures, the Red Devils face the best offensive players in the world. At this point, it appears that Rio Ferdinand is unable to compete with the best of the best, especially when speed is a factor.

As a United fan, it is hard for me to admit that a beloved player like Ferdinand is on the latter end of his career. But it has simply become an unavoidable fact.