David Moyes has insisted that Rio Ferdinand hasn’t been marginalised since the former Everton manager arrived at Old Trafford and Moyes has reiterated that the 35-year-old defender remains an important figure for the club.
Ferdinand has started just seven league games this campaign, but has played just once in the Premier League since September, with Moyes opting to play Nemanja Vidic, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling at centre-back, while Ferdinand has picked up an injury against Swansea a month ago and hasn’t played since.
However, with Evans and Jones suffering injuries at Stoke on Saturday and Nemanja Vidic available again after his three-match ban, Moyes could be tempted to restore the old partnership at the middle of the back four when United host bottom of the table Fulham on Sunday.
The United manager confirmed that Rio was back in training and that he had not been frozen out of the squad.
“Rio is back training. He’s back and we will continue to use Rio at the right times and the right moments,” said Moyes.
“Rio has made a great contribution, especially in the first half of the season. I played him in nearly all the opening eight to 10 games. He was a big part in helping me to settle. He has competition at centre-half but he is very much valued and looked at as one of the senior players.”
Ferdinand is, however, expected to move on in the summer, with United unlikely to extend Ferdinand’s contract, which expires at the end of this season, and the defender set to bring the curtain down of his Old Trafford career after 12 trophy-laden season and, possibly, seek one final bumper pay-check across the pond in the MLS.