Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand keen to throw himself into pre-season training
MANCHESTER United defender Rio Ferdinand was keen to throw himself back into pre-season training to help put memories of rivals City's title win behind him.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side were pipped to the Barclays Premier League in the closing seconds of the campaign in May when Sergio Aguero scored City's winner in stoppage time against QPR to take the championship on goal difference.
But now the squad have returned to Carrington for pre-season training Ferdinand is keen to look at what lies ahead.
"The way the season ended the quicker and sooner we can get back into it the better," said the 33-year-old, whose summer anguish was compounded when he was left out of England's Euro 2012 squad.
"It's the longest holiday I've had, it's been five or six weeks, and I'm 100% ready to put everything back into football now.
"But when you can see the fixtures and start planning the season and working things out in your head you start champing at the bit to start training because the games come thick and fast."
Ferdinand believes pre-season has actually become less painful for him as the years have passed but admits he has done extra work during his break to ensure he can still match the pace of the younger squad members.
"Scientifically it has got easier so they don't try to kill you on the first day," he told Manchester United's Red Voices podcast.
"You used to come limping in the first week because you had muscles you never knew you had aching but now it is more relaxed and we are eased into it - it is better for me.
"I have always done something (before pre-season) and I've always done three or four sessions but this time I've done about 10 different runs by myself.
"I am getting to the latter stages of my career so I need to come back as fit as I can to keep up with the younger guys."
Ferdinand is well aware that careers do not last forever but stressed that even though he has been hugely successful at Old Trafford he has never changed his attitude.
"People think you become a footballer just like that - that is so far from the truth. I think it is harder to maintain a life as a footballer," he said.
"You can go from being a top footballer to the next day not being on the subs bench and being carted out to a non-league team because you didn't apply yourself right and maintain the standards which got you there."
United's preparations have begun ahead of a tour which takes in matches in South Africa, China, Norway, Sweden and Germany prior to their Barclays Premier League campaign starting at Everton on August 18.
Ferdinand admits that is when things will really step up.
"You get fit from doing a lot of the running but the games are where you find your match sharpness so you want them to start as soon as possible even if you are not in top condition," he added.
"Physically it is the most important thing about these games, driving your fitness up, but you don't want to lose a game.
"You are disappointed losing games in pre-season. The competitive edge comes from within each player wanting to do well for himself and proving to the manager they are capable.
"When I first signed here the application of players and intensity in training was so much different to anywhere else.
"Every single training session becomes an art in itself."
Veteran midfielder Paul Scholes, who came out of retirement last season and has signed on again for the coming campaign, admits he thought he had seen the back of pre-season training camps.
"This time last year I was in Portugal somewhere glad I was not involved in a pre-season," he said.
"Twelve months on I am looking forward to it and enjoying being part of it.
"If you ask any footballer it is the most difficult part of the season because it is mostly running with a little bit of football.
"I wouldn't say we look forward to it but we all know it is something we have to do."