The Bottom Corner : Is Rio Ferdinand's Time Up?

Salaar Shamsi@SalaarizationSenior Writer INovember 11, 2009

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 06:  Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United is embraced by Rio Ferdinand at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Sunderland at Old Trafford on December 6, 2008 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Rio Ferdinand joined Manchester United in 2002 for a staggering £29.1 million.

Ferdinand, a product of West Ham United's academy joined the Red Devils from a financially crippled Leeds United and made his presence felt in his very first season at the club.

Manchester United went on to win the Premier League in his debut season at the club with Ferdinand eventually becoming an integral part of their success.

However, Roman Abramovich's arrival in West London and Chelsea's domestic dominance meant the Premier League eluded the Red Devils for two consecutive seasons.

Ferdinand, who has been part of the PFA Team of the Year, a stunning four times, has been consistently troubled by serious injuries throughout his career.

Over the past three years, Rio Ferdinand and his Serbian counterpart, Nemanja Vidic have formed a deadly partnership in the heart of Manchester United's defense which has played a massive role in the Red Devils completing a hatrick of Premier League titles.

Ferdinand and Vidic, who have the ability to intimidate any strike force also helped United to become European Champions by defeating Chelsea in Moscow only to surrender their crown to FC Barcelona in Rome last season.

The remarkable partnership has drawn comparisons to United's legendary defensive partnership of Gary Pallister and Steve Bruce.

However, despite winning the Premier League for the last three seasons, this season has been a completely different story for both Rio Ferdinand and Manchester United.

The Red Devils who lost the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez over the summer have been troubled by injuries particularly in defense.

Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Edwin Van der Sar, Wes Brown, Rafael Da Silva, Darren Fletcher, Ji Sung Park, Ryan Giggs, Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney have all seen the inside of United's treatment room this season.

United skipper Gary Neville rightly suggests that United's inconsistency is largely because of the continuous changes being made at the back.

Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Rio Ferdinand to rediscover the form and fitness which once made him known as one of England's best ever center-backs.

Ferdinand has been struggling for both form and fitness with Manchester United and England this season which means both Sir Alex Ferguson and Fabio Capello are being pressurized to prepare for life after the ex-Leeds United man.

The recent unavailability of both Vidic and Ferdinand has forced Ferguson to pair Jonny Evans with Wes Brown in the heart of United's backline and Capello might not even take Ferdinand to South Africa if the likes of Gary Cahill, Matthew Upson or Joleon Lescott prove to be of better value than the Manchester United man.

Ferdinand has played some games for United this season including the thrilling win over Manchester City and the defeat to Liverpool but his form remains a huge concern for the Old Trafford faithful.

A massive blunder in United's derby game against Manchester City, where Ferdinand cheekily chipped the ball towards John O'Shea only to be expertly intercepted by Craig Bellamy, who convincingly outran Ferdinand and guided the ball into the back of the net behind Ben Foster, almost cost the Red Devils, a crucial two points before Micheal Owen scored a stunning winner in stoppage time.

Ferdinand also erred in the defeat at Anfield, failing to hold off Fernando Torres as the Spaniard smashed the ball past Van der Sar into the back of the net. Well, that’s football, you win some, and you lose some.

All of this means football pundits have been debating whether Ferdinand, who has also captained Manchester United should be axed or not, especially from the England side.

Ferdinand’s contract with the Red Devils run through till 2013 but some believe it might be best for United to play Jonny Evans ahead of the Englishman, keeping the future in mind.

Personally, I feel somebody of Rio Ferdinand’s quality deserve another chance with both club and country but as they say, in football, you simply never know.

That wraps up this edition of The Bottom Corner, until next time, this is B/R’s very own Salaar Shamsi saying, good bye.





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