United’s management is increasingly concerned about the long-term fitness of Rio Ferdinand, according to a report in today’s Times. The central defender, who sat on the substitutes bench for last night’s Carling Cup victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers, has missed 30 of United’s last 52 United and England matches says the paper.
Connected to the player’s long-term back complaint, Ferdinand suffered thigh, calf and groin problems over the past year. The defender, 31 on 7 November, has regular osteopathic treatment on the back complaint. However, the problem is now one that requires ongoing management, and not a quick-fix.
Sir Alex Ferguson has chopped-and-change his central defensive partnership over the past year, with both Nemanja Vidic and Johnny Evans suffering injuries. Evans played against Wolves, despite an ongoing ankle problem that may need surgery.
Ferdinand, who cost the club £30 million in 2002, signed a five-year, £130,000 a week, contract last summer. The Old Trafford bean-counters as well as the manager will be hoping Ferdinand is able to halt the tide of injuries.