Alex Ferguson used what could possibly his last ever Manchester United team talk to remind Rio Ferdinand that he was never much of a defensive midfielder.
Ferguson took charge of the Man United 2008 XI, the year of his second Champions League win, against Michael Carrick’s All-Stars to celebrate the Old Trafford veteran’s testimonial.
Man United (and indeed England) briefly flirted with the idea of the Ferdinand playing further up the pitch. However, the idea was shelved and Ferguson doesn’t even bother sparing the former centre-back’s feelings in explaining why.
“Rio can’t play midfield.
“I played him once there, and Robbie Savage run all over the bloody top of him.”
When Ferdinand tried to defend himself and said that he once played well in midfield with Wayne Rooney against Wolves, Ferguson was quick to shoot that down too:
“The only reason why you were good was because Paul Ince was 39 at the time.
” Last game was a 5-5 draw.
At 5-2 I thought we were going to win by 10, then Rio goes… Lukaku came on and scored a hat-trick against him. Has anybody ever scored a hat-trick against you? Actually, no, Ronaldo did didn’t he?”
At this point even Gary Neville was getting a few digs in, relating back to Rio’s somewhat disastrous spell at Queens Park Rangers at the end of his career:
“Did you not see him at QPR?”
Ferguson then went around the room paying tribute to each of the players, almost a decade after they celebrated a famous night in Moscow after a penalty shootout sealed Champions League success against Chelsea.
Former Cork City defender Neal Horgan joined us in studio this week on the Mixer Irish Football Podcast to dissect Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Austria last weekend.