Ferguson eyes rest period for Man Utd veteran Ferdinand

Sir Alex Ferguson is looking for his Manchester United side to secure qualification to the next stage of the Champions League as quickly as possible and give him an opportunity to give veteran defender Rio Ferdinand a well-earned rest.

The England international turns 34 this week and has long suffered with knee and back problems that have limited his appearances in recent years. However, injuries to Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have meant that Ferdinand has been forced to take the field more often than not so far this season for the Red Devils.

However, according to the Daily Mail, with Smalling and Jones now set to return from the sidelines and Man United just needing a point away in Portugal against Braga to seal passage through to the last 16, Ferguson is keen for an opportunity to rotate his squad.

The game in Braga will give me a chance to utilise my squad. I’ll be making some changes,” said the 70-year-old.

If we can get the win it’s better, but we want to make sure we qualify first. If we do, it gives me options to utilise Smalling and Jones. Then we can make sure that Ferdinand is fresh for all these games. I won’t have to worry about playing him Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday.

Ferdinand, who has been at Old Trafford since the summer of 2002, made only 32 appearances between August 2009 and May 2011 but has recovered to become a near ever-present over the last two campaigns.

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