Football

A Scolding From Roy Keane Changed Rio Ferdinand's Career

A Scolding From Roy Keane Changed Rio Ferdinand's Career

Rio Ferdinand was not long in the door at Old Trafford when Roy Keane had already changed how he thought about the game.

Ferdinand joined Man Utd in the summer of 2002 from Leeds. The circa £30m Man Utd reportedly spent made Ferdinand football's most expensive defender at the time.

At just 23, Ferdinand had much to learn about the game and Keane started teaching in one early training session.

"I got the ball and passed to Gary [Neville], who was on my team," Ferdinand is quoted as saying by The Mirror.

In a normal game that was a great ball; pass to your teammate, go up the pitch.

And then Keane turned round and just started going: 'Pass it forward, take risks, you’re not at Leeds or West Ham now, you’re at Manchester United!'

Initially, Ferdinand wondered how he could endure Keane on a day-to-day basis. Though, he eventually realised that the Cork man was right. If he was going to become a better player, he could not be conservative. Risks would have to be taken.

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"I stood there and thought: 'This guy is crazy. Man, what’s he doing? I passed it to a teammate, surely I’m doing alright.'

"I got home later that day and thought: ‘This guy is nuts, how am I going to deal with him on a daily basis?’

"And then I realised that you’ve got to take chances and that’s how I ended up playing my career. Not just passing the simple ball to Gary, but into the strikers to make a difference."

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PJ Browne
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