How to star as a central back

2012-07-21 10:17

Rio Ferdinand (33) represented England at three Fifa World Cups and has played in 270 matches for Manchester United. He’s be part of the Red Devils squad visiting South Africa to play in Cape Town today.

Roger De Sá, a former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper and Bidvest Wits coach, assesses his skills.

1. Look at the track record
Manchester United wouldn’t have won all its silverware with Rio as a centre back if he was mediocre.

The club won the Barclays Premier League four years in a row and also clinched the 2008 Uefa Champions League trophy.

Rio is a classy, all-round player with speed, size and very good passing ability. He’s also streetwise and captained the England squad a number of times.

2. Size does matter
Rio cuts an imposing figure at 1.89m and he uses his size smartly to win aerial battles. He also moves extremely quickly for his size.

At 33, he might have lost a yard of pace, but he is very experienced and anticipates better than ever, which helps him to defend well.

3. Dancing shoes
Rio has nimble and quick feet and he distributes well, knowing how to move it from the back to the midfield. He also challenges strikers well.

4. White-line fever
Once he gets onto a football pitch, he has white-line fever – he’s aggressive, but that doesn’t spill over into dirty play, which would make him susceptible to red cards.

He is also seldom the recipient of a yellow card. That controlled aggression helps the defenders to win back vital possession in the battle for supremacy.

Another component of Ferdinand’s success is that he enjoys the art of being
a defender and challenging the best strikers.

5. Size does matter
Ferdinand cuts an imposing figure at 1.89 metres and he uses his size smartly to win aerial battles as a defender.

But not only is he big, but he moves extremely quick for his size.

At age 33, he might have lost a yard of pace, but he is extremely experienced and anticipates better than ever, which helps him to defend well.

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