Wednesday 19 June 2019

Ferdinand would be open to Manchester United return

The former defender has been linked with a technical director role at Old Trafford.

Rio Ferdinand would be open to a return to Manchester United in a technical role (Mike Egerton/PA).
Rio Ferdinand would be open to a return to Manchester United in a technical role (Mike Egerton/PA).

By Mark Mann-Bryans, Press Association Sport

Former Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand has refused to rule out the prospect of returning to the club in a technical role.

Reports over recent weeks have suggested the 40-year-old is on a list of former Old Trafford stars being lined up to come in as part of a shake-up of the club’s hierarchy.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces a major restructuring job this summer after the club finished sixth in the Premier League last season.

The introduction of a technical director to work alongside executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has been mooted for some time, but an appointment has yet to be made.

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Rio Ferdinand spent 12 years as a player at Manchester United (Dave Thompson/PA).

Ferdinand, who joined United in 2002 to become what was then the most expensive defender in world football, won six Premier League titles and the Champions League during his 12 years at the club.

And he revealed a return in a senior off-field role could be of interest.

“It all depends on the shape of the job,” he said when asked if he fancied returning to the club.

“I don’t think it’s all been outlined at Man United in terms of – that’s the job and this is the description. I think there’s a lot to talk about within that.

You are helping to shape the fortunes of a club of that stature. That’s a huge job. All the boxes would have to be ticked that you’re got in in your head before considering something like that. Rio Ferdinand

“To be fair to Man United in that kind of role, the responsibility that comes with that, you can’t lie and say that that’s not a turn-on.

“Because you are helping to shape the fortunes of a club of that stature. That’s a huge job.

“All the boxes would have to be ticked that you’re got in in your head before considering something like that.

“I think decisions made at a football club – not all, (but) some of them should come with a football thought process in the background somewhere, (someone) that understands that side of it and can make that kind of decision.”

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Rio Ferdinand believes Manchester United are lacking an ideology in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era (Phil Noble/PA).

Ferdinand, like many other former United players, believes the club is struggling for a philosophy in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era and that signing star players is now more difficult than when the club were routinely winning silverware.

“Man United are looking for their ideology still, he said.

“They went away from it after Sir Alex Ferguson, they tried to take it on under different managers and it didn’t work, so they are still searching.

“They need to lock down a philosophy, an ideology, but it’s not just the first team – it needs to be across the club, with younger players and the foundations, all the way through.

“There needs to be some sort of story at a football club for the stars and the staff to believe in.

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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a major rebuilding job this summer (Anthony Devlin/PA).

“Liverpool have got that, Jurgen Klopp has created that. Man City have got that – Pep (Guardiola) has created that. But they have been allowed to create it. They have had time.

“Do I think Man United can do that? I think time will tell – Ole has a window to work in and then he has to put that jigsaw in place.

“It is a big gap between Man City, Liverpool and Spurs. They will build again, they will recruit again.

“Man United always used to compete from the front – from a financial position and from a trophy position, winning. So if you approach a player you didn’t have to talk about money – we were winning the league every year.

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Rio Ferdinand on the Premier League title six times with Manchester United (Nick Potts/PA).

“I could have gone for bigger money, easy. I could have left for bigger money, but I was addicted to wining, so why leave?

“There are people around Man United who can pay the same or more and now they haven’t got the added pull of winning trophies and being in the mix to win the big trophies.

“And you have Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona, all massive clubs in transition, so Man United are not top of the queue when it comes to the big players.”

:: UEFA EURO 2020 will be the biggest and most inclusive celebration of European football, with hosting shared between 12 cities across Europe for the first time. London is one of these cities, and Wembley Stadium will be the venue for seven matches, including both semi-finals and the showpiece final

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