Rio has United future – Fergie

The £29.1million defender has struggled to maintain his

fitness for the last three seasons, making just 72 appearances out

of a possible 161 since United returned home from the 2008 World

Club Cup. The 32-year-old has already suffered two minor injuries

this term, which together with the fine form of Phil Jones, Chris

Smalling and Jonny Evans during United’s exceptional start to the

campaign has led many to conclude Ferdinand’s 10th season at United

will be his last. However, Ferguson insists that is not the case.

After drafting Ferdinand back into his side for the recent 5-0

hammering of Bolton, the Scot is planning to do the same again

tomorrow evening at Stoke. “Rio’s [injury] record is fact,” said

Ferguson. “We wish it was better but we use him to our advantage

when we have him available because you cannot dismiss the

experience he brings. “He missed a couple [of matches] after Bolton

and one after West Brom, but I don’t mind that because with the

squad we have got we utilise him the way we want to.” Despite the

frequency of his absences, Ferdinand always seems to find a way of

reaching top form instantly when he does return. “He walked through

the game at Bolton,” Ferguson added. “We are absolutely delighted

with Smalling, Evans and Jones. The three of them have been

absolutely magnificent. They are the long-term future. “But there

are occasions when you bring in the experience Rio offers because

it does make a difference. The young players know that. “They also

know there will be a time when they are left out for the right

reasons and knowing they will get better the next time they come

in.”