Former England manager Graham Taylor believes that Rio Ferdinand is looking at some stiff competition for a place on both the Manchester United and England squads, in the form of young signing Phil Jones.
Taylor also sighted Chris Smalling as a potential successor for Ferdinand, with the 66-year-old insisting the two youngsters are showing the defender that he needs to stay on the ball to keep his place.
“The signings of Jones and Smalling are examples of first-class management,” Taylor said in the Daily Express.
“Sir Alex is saying: ‘I have players here to take your place either right now, or in the future.’
“Ironically, given all the injuries Ferdinand has suffered in recent years, the fearless way in which Jones plays the game may, at some point, re-open the door to him.”
Taylor insisted that Ferdinand is not necessarily at the stage where Jones and Smalling will take over just yet, but the former manager believes the 32-year-old will need to prove his worth at Manchester United when he recovers from injury.
“[Ferdinand] is in a position whereby he has to prove himself all over again,” Taylor said.
“Don’t forget Nemanja Vidic is out injured, too, and will be desperate for his place back, so the manner in which Ferdinand reacts will be crucial in determining how the rest of his career pans out.”
Manchester United signed Phil Jones for £16.5 million at the end of June. Jones was one of three signings for United, with the club staying relatively quiet this transfer window.