Rio Ferdinand: I hated playing against these two Arsenal legends

Bergkamp Euro 96

The former Manchester United defender admits he did not enjoy playing against two Arsenal strikers in particular during his career.

Rio Ferdinand says he 'hated' playing against Arsenal strikers Ian Wright and Dennis Bergkamp.

The Gunners legends enjoyed illustrious records in north London and Ferdinand came across both on numerous occasions.

Wright, a childhood hero of Ferdinand's, intimidated him and tried to get into his head on the pitch when he was young, he says.

That experience was not a pleasant one for the 35-year-old, although the pair did later become friends.

"When I was 18, I played against Ian Wright, who'd been a hero of mine when I was growing up. The ball was down the other end because he had a corner, so I was standing on the halfway line, marking him," Ferdinand wrote in his new book '2 sides.'

"He starting pointing at my head and goes 'yeah, I've got you! I'm inside your head now. I'm inside there.'

"I hated him. Though I grew to be friends with him later, I was like: I don't like this guy."

And Ferdinand had a similarly bad experience squaring up against Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp, who once refused to swap shirts with the defender.

"One time, when I was quite young, at Leeds, I asked Dennis Bergkamp: 'Do you want to swap shirts after the game?'" he explained.

"'I don't swap shirts,' he said, just completely cold. I hated him and when I played against him after that. And I stopped asking people to swap shirts. I realised it might have given them the edge over you."

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch