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Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs
In a recent interview, Sir Alex referred to five players over 30 leaving Manchester United. These were: Edwin van der Saar; Paul Scholes; Gary Neville; Wes Brown; and John O'Shea. The latter two were deemed surplus to requirements, with the arrival of Phil Jones and the maturity of the Da Silva twins.
Maybe Sir Alex wishes he still had "Sheasy" at his disposal after last week's injuries?
He has always been good at blending youth with experience. The most senior professionals now are: Ryan Giggs (37); Rio Ferdinand (32); Michael Owen (31); Patrice Evra (30); Michael Carrick (30); Ji Sung Park (30); Dimitar Berbatov (30); and Nemanja Vidic (29). That's two-thirds of a possible First Eleven.
Clearly, he could not have afforded for much of this experience to leave last year as well, but United have always been adept at getting value towards the end of a player's career. In 2011/12, theyl may let go of several of these players, with not all replacements coming from home-grown talent. This is probably one reason why Wesley Sneijder would be pivotal at 27 if he were signed.
While Vidic and Evra appear to have committed the rest of their careers, it seems likely that Giggs and Ferdinand will be pensioned off this year.
Rio Ferdinand is the most problematic. At 32 his body is failing him and there is an opportunity for one of the young guns to stake a claim for a first choice central defensive spot. Or, as we've speculated elsewhere, Gary Cahill would be a ready-made experienced replacement at 25. Rio's hamstring injury must raise a question in the manager's mind whether now is the time to replace him permanently.
As for Ryan Giggs, while Sir Alex has said he can play on as long as he wants, the recent revelations about the sordid private life of a so-called "model professional" will have shocked the United hierarchy to the core. Ferguson may already have had the 'one more year son' conversation and, with Young, Welbeck, Cleverley and Pogba now at his disposal, may call on the Welsh Wizard less than before.