Former England captain wants to postpone his retirrment and help Manchester United recapture the glory days of old
Rio Ferdinand claims that he will postpone retirement this summer in an effort to extend his Manchester United career and overcome the “embarrassment” of this season after insisting that the club must move on from David Moyes ’s disastrous reign in charge.
Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman, will step up efforts to recruit a new manager this week, with Louis van Gaal pushing for the club to confirm his appointment as Moyes’s successor.
Van Gaal, the Holland coach who is on holiday in Portugal, has been reported in the respected Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf to have reached an outline agreement with United in order to succeed the sacked Moyes.
But while United do not reject suggestions that Van Gaal is a leading contender for the job, claims that a deal has been done with the 62-year-old have been strongly rejected by the club over the weekend.
There remains a desire among senior figures at Old Trafford to gauge the intentions of other high-profile coaches, with Real Madrid ’s Carlo Ancelotti and Borussia Dortmund’s Jürgen Klopp both making ambiguous statements when asked about the United vacancy in recent days.
With Ryan Giggs overseeing a 4-0 victory against relegation-threatened Norwich City in his first game as interim manager on Saturday, the Welshman has growing support within the club to secure the job on a full-time basis.
Wayne Rooney ’s insistence following the Norwich game that Giggs has “all the credentials” to succeed Moyes underlines the backing that the 40-year-old has within the dressing room.
With several senior players growing disenchanted with life under Moyes, Ferdinand, whose contract expires in June, admitted that he was determined to help the club bounce back next season by remaining at Old Trafford under whichever manager was appointed to take charge.
“I’m going to continue playing,” Ferdinand said. “Whether it’s here, I don’t know, but I hope so. I am sure that whoever is here, whoever is managing, the aim of this club is win trophies and championships and we have done that for 25 years. Long may that continue.”
Having become a peripheral figure under Moyes, Ferdinand appeared destined to leave United this summer prior to the Scot’s dismissal.
But with United recording their biggest home league victory of the season against Norwich, the former England captain admitted that he could not explain the sudden uplift in the team’s performance without Moyes.
“The person who has the correct answer to that would be a genius,” Ferdinand said. “If we knew why, then I’m sure the change of manager wouldn’t have happened. I’ve not looked at the league table for ages.
"We were saying it before the game. It’s because you don’t want to. It’s embarrassing. You don’t want to look at the league table and see where we are, but that’s down to us as players.
“We take responsibility for that as much as anyone else. We are where we are and we have to take some responsibility for that.
"We are not shirkers and we are not people who don’t take responsibility. I don’t think you get to where we have got to in our careers without taking responsibility and this is no different.”
United cruised to victory over Norwich with two goals from Rooney and a further two from substitute Juan Mata.
The manner of the victory has led to the prospect of Giggs emerging as a credible candidate for the full-time job – a likelihood dismissed by senior figures at United, but the man himself admits it is only an issue he can influence by guiding the team to further victories over the final three games of the season.
“I’ll deal with that [potential candidacy] hopefully if I have got four wins,” Giggs said. “I’ll deal with it then. But there are so many things and aspects to this job that I haven’t really got time to look too far ahead.
“I’ve said that [lack of managerial experience counts against me]. I am outside my comfort zone and I’ve quickly had to do so many things that I’ve never done before, but I’ve enjoyed it.
"It’s been a challenge, but I must say the players and the staff have been brilliant. I’ve had really good support. I don’t know what I’m doing about playing yet, I don’t know what’s going to happen there, so again it’s something that I’ll think about and decide with the appropriate people after the season.”
Van Gaal’s position as front-runner for the job has been somewhat contradicted by the tone of reports emerging from Holland, with the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach now understood to be pressuring United for an answer this week in order to focus on World Cup preparations.
With Van Gaal aware of United’s interest in Ancelotti, the prospect of the former Chelsea coach becoming more attainable should Real be eliminated from the Champions League by Bayern on Tuesday night is a genuine threat to the Dutchman’s prospects of succeeding Moyes.
However, Patrick Kluivert, Van Gaal’s assistant with the Dutch team, insisted that he was the obvious choice for United.
“He would be absolutely the first pick of any club, especially top teams everywhere in the world,” Kluivert said. “He is a top trainer and he likes to let young players make their debut if ready for it.
“The most important thing at the moment is I’m personally enjoying working with him and with the Dutch national team. We are going to the World Cup and hope to do well. After that we’ll see what happens and with me as well.”