Rio Ferdinand to leave Manchester United in summer as David Moyes calls time on his career
Prospects of veteran defender earning a new deal at Old Trafford are understood to be bleak as new manager increasingly turns to Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jone
Rio Ferdinand is facing the final six months of his Manchester United career as he is set to become a high-profile victim of David Moyes’s rebuilding plans at Old Trafford.
Ferdinand, whose one-year contract expires in June, could make his first Premier League appearance for a month when United travel to Hull City on Boxing Day lunchtime.
But with Moyes increasingly turning to Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones at centre-half, and at least four new signings expected to arrive at United next summer, Ferdinand’s prospects of earning a new deal are understood to be bleak.
Although Moyes has regularly turned to Ferdinand for United’s Champions League fixtures, the 35-year-old has made just one appearance in the league since the end of September, having started all five of the club’s opening Premier League games this season.
Despite the former England captain accepting media work with the BBC and BT Sport, it is understood that he is prepared to wait until the end of the season before deciding whether to continue his playing career.
And while a contract offer from United is unlikely, there remains strong interest from clubs in the United States and Middle East.
With United’s recent upturn in the league coinciding with a lowering of the average age of Moyes’s starting team, the manager admits that the “energy” provided by the younger players is crucial. And he cites the return to form of midfielder Tom Cleverley as an unnoticed positive.
“Tom Cleverley gets underestimated a lot,” Moyes said. “He’s a good player if you look at his stats, his passing, his running, what he gives the team. I think he’s a very good player.
“I think the whole team needed to step up, not just Tom, but I think we’re finding that more and more of them are beginning to perform much better.
“Tom is someone we like a lot. He’s great on the training ground and about the place, so we want to give him as much chance as we possibly can. I think sometimes people haven’t seen what he can do and maybe they look to see what he can’t do.
“He certainly works really hard for the team, but he needs to score more goals.
“We’ve probably played him a little bit deep and we’re trying to get him further up the pitch now to make the box more often.
“He did it the other day because he’s got the energy and that drive, so let’s hope we can keep it going.
“I would have thought he’s the sort of player that Roy Hodgson would like [at the World Cup] because he will need people that will get around people and be willing to do two or three different jobs for him when it’s required. So I would hope Tom has a chance.”
Although Moyes insists that United’s old guard remain key figures this season, with Michael Carrick in contention to return from an Achilles injury at Hull, the former Everton manager admits that the energy of youth will be a building block of his team going forward.
“I would like to have a good energy about my team,” Moyes said. “I want them to be able to run and be exciting and you have to have all of those qualities. We’re slowly starting to get them all a little bit better, game by game.
“Danny Welbeck, Antonio Valencia and Adnan Januzaj have got energy and we’ve got a team that’s got a lot of energy at the moment. But there are always people having to push and that’s why the senior players here are so good because they demand the young players perform and train well.
“In the end, it’s the senior players that help. It’s a big thing and I’ve noticed it here.”
United face a Hull team with the best home defensive record in the Premier League having conceded just three goals at the KC Stadium.