Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has spoken about the pressure he felt at Old Trafford – not when playing but on the training field. Ferdinand signed for United back in 2002 from rivals Leeds United for a record breaking £29.1 million and despite going on to become one of United’s best defenders of all time, the early days of his Old Trafford career were far from the finished article.
Ferdinand also spoke about Paul Pogba and the Frenchman’s desire to become the best in the world and the importance that United sign him.
Ferdinand, who now works as a pundit for BT Sports, made 455 appearances for the reds – putting him 17th of all time in appearances for United. He formed a formidable partnership with Nemanja Vidic and was one of the most graceful and technically gifted centre halves England has ever produced. United’s former number five recalls that he was conscious of what the other players thought of him, considering his hefty transfer fee:
“My biggest pressure wasn’t on the pitch at Old Trafford. My biggest pressure was on the training pitch with those players and thinking they were thinking, ‘What does £30m get you? Can he win us the league?’ That’s the pressure I felt and putting pressure on myself to write myself into the club’s history through success.
But I speak to Paul, and he’s all about football, not money. He’s about improvement and being the best. When he left, I said ‘Why are you leaving?’ He said, ‘I want to be the best in the world’. He’s on the right track. He’s not there yet. It’s important they sign him.”