Rio Ferdinand has placed a question mark over his football future by admitting he is not certain to extend his career beyond the end of his Manchester United contract next summer.
Ferdinand, who celebrated his 34th birthday last Wednesday, has yet to open talks with United over an extension to his deal.
With the former England captain having overcome a lengthy battle against a persistent back injury in recent months, United manager Alex Ferguson has hinted at Ferdinand being offered a new contract by insisting the defender can play into his late thirties.
However, the player himself admits he will begin to consider his future next month before making a final decision at the end of the season.
"It is always good to hear the manager say things like that," Ferdinand said. "But you have to take every week and month as it comes. The best thing I can do is to look at it at Christmas, and then again in the summer, to see how I'm feeling and go from there.
"But hearing the manager say things like that definitely puts the spring back in your step."
Having been overlooked by England for Euro 2012, Ferdinand benefited from a summer free of international football, but he admits he has yet to discover whether the positive effects of his extended summer break will continue for the season.
"I'll have a better idea of that in December or January time when the games start coming thick and fast." Ferdinand said. "I'll probably get a better gauge of where I'm at fitness-wise and the benefit of having the summer off then."
United, meanwhile, will assess the fitness of Wayne Rooney today following his withdrawal from the England squad with an ankle injury sustained against Aston Villa on Saturday.
Rooney is understood to have suffered a cut above the ankle, but the problem is unlikely to sideline him for Saturday's trip to Norwich. (© Daily Telegraph, London)