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Under-pressure Ferdinand starts against Galati

11-02-2011 11:38 BJT

MANCHESTER, England - Manchester United will turn to Rio Ferdinand to marshal the heart of their defence against Otelul Galati in the absence of suspended Nemanja Vidic, manager Alex Ferguson said on the eve of Wednesday's Champions League match.

Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand reacts during a training session at the club's Carrington training complex in Manchester, northern England Nov 1, 2011. United will play Otelul Galati on Wednesday in their Champions League Group C soccer match in Manchester. [Photo/Agencies]

Ferdinand, 32, has found his starting place alongside Vidic increasingly under threat due to injuries and the emergence of youngsters Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling.

"I explained to Rio other day that it's simply we have two young centre halves coming through and I'm very glad to have the four of them and I hope I can keep the four of them for a long time," the manager told a news conference on Tuesday.

"Rio's almost 33 and he's obviously lost a yard of pace he had five years ago but that doesn't mean he can't tailor his game in a different way - where used to rely on pace he doesn't do that now, he can't do that any more.

"We've all faced that decisive moment in your careers when you realise you have to change your game. I did it myself as a player .. Rio will do the same and he will be fine."

Ferdinand, who played in the 6-1 thumping by Premier League leaders Manchester City at Old Trafford last month, will return to the scene of that drubbing for Wednesday's Group C encounter against the Romanian champions.

Midfielder Tom Cleverley has been ruled out with an ankle injury, joining Smalling and winger Ashley Young on the sidelines.

The English champions are second in the group on five points, two behind Benfica and one ahead of third-placed FC Basel. Galati have yet to get off the mark.

Editor:Zhang Jianfeng |Source: China Daily

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