Rio Ferdinand may be surplus to requirements for Roy Hodgson, but his Manchester United team-mates are thankful to have him around.

Again left out of the England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, Ferdinand was on the right track in Newcastle. Afforded more protection by United's new diamond formation than he got the previous weekend against Tottenham's speedsters, Ferdinand showed he remains a class act in a 3-0 win.

"Rio is quality," said defensive colleague Jonny Evans. "He is so experienced. He cruises through games."

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