David Moyes says he is more than happy to use Rio Ferdinand and is looking forward to having him back from injury.
The 35-year-old started Manchester United's first seven Premier League games under new manager Moyes but has since found opportunities hard to come by as he struggles to maintain full fitness.
Having made just one appearance in the league since September, there were concerns that Ferdinand was being marginalised in favour of his younger team mates Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans, but Moyes insists that isn't the case.
“Rio is back training," Moyes said late last week. "He’s back and we will continue to use Rio at the right times and the right moments.
“Rio has made a great contribution, especially in the first half of the season. I played him in nearly all the opening eight to 10 games. He was a big part in helping me to settle. He has competition at centre-half but he is very much valued and looked at as one of the senior players.”
Ferdinand suffered a knee injury in Manchester United's Fa Cup third round tie against Swansea but is on the road to recovery.
The Red Devils face Fulham next weekend in a must win game as Moyes tries to cling on to United's chances of making the top four.
Some experience at the back, in the form of Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic wouldn't have gone amiss as United succumbed to their eighth league defeat of the season against Stoke.
Ferdinand's contract at Old Trafford runs out in the summer.