United star ‘wants to play for another three years’ - Time to leave?

Rio Ferdinand has said he hopes to keep playing for up to three more years, but how long can he do that at Manchester United?

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand wants to keep playing for another three years according to a report in the Daily Mail.

The former England international sees his current deal expire at the end of this season, and as yet there has been no news of a possible extension.

That will be a decision for the incoming United boss, who must decide if – at 35 – Ferdinand still has a significant role to play at the club he has served with such aplomb.

The Mail’s report picks up on an interview Ferdinand gave to BT Sport, in which he said, “I’m enjoying my football so I’ll definitely be playing on for another year, hopefully two or three more.

“But I’ll take it year by year and hopefully another year.”

Ferdinand has considerable and valuable experience, and with Nemanja Vidic leaving, he could be more importance to the defence than ever.

At times this season the former Leeds United and West Ham player has rolled back the years, and with more responsibility on Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling next season, the new manager may opt to keep a more experienced defender in the fold.

But with another quality centre-back tipped to arrive – most regularly in the form of Ezequiel Garay – Ferdinand could find his playing-time reduced further, leaving him with a decision to make.

If he does want to play on for another three seasons, he is unlikely to find many clubs willing to offer a player in his mid-30s a three-year contract. But similarly he needs to maintain his fitness and minutes on the pitch to ensure he remains at his optimum.

It is a tough call for a player who has admitted he wants to remain at United; but perhaps the decision will be made for him.

We will see come the end of the season, although the most likely outcome could be a one-year extension to ensure a smooth transition for the younger defenders, before he tries his hand (and his feet) elsewhere for a season or two.

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