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Thursday 18 September 2014

In with the old and the new for Ferguson

Published 26/01/2013 | 08:20

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Sir Alex Ferguson believes Rio Ferdinand, pictured, could still be playing football until he is approaching 40

Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Rio Ferdinand to extend his career well into his 30s, just as he is welcoming his newest signing into the fold.

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Wilfried Zaha suggested his transfer to Manchester United had gone through on Friday evening, although it does involve him heading straight back to Crystal Palace, where he will spend the rest of the season on loan.

"I am so excited, its been a very exhausting day, but at last delighted to end all speculation," said Zaha on Twitter.

The England international has signed a long-term contract that is expected to keep him at Old Trafford until 2018, by which time, if Ferguson is to be believed, Ferdinand might still be a team-mate.

There has seemed to be a bit of a stand-off between the 34-year-old and his employers, with suitors from MLS and the Far East circling.

But Ferguson does not believe Ferdinand should feel slighted at the offer of a single-season extension, and has not ruled the possibility of the one-time England defender emulating Ryan Giggs by playing until he is approaching 40.

"There is nothing wrong with us giving players one-year contracts," he said. "Players with the reputation and ability of Ryan Giggs. Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand should not worry about that.

"It is quite straightforward. It is not to say we doubt them but it is natural you never know how they cope with getting older. Some do, some don't.

"Defenders, if they look after themselves, should have longer than Giggs and Scholes because they don't have the mileage on the clock that midfield or wide players have, and Rio has had a great season."

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