Sir Alex Ferguson expects Rio Ferdinand to remain at the heart of Manchester United's defence for the next five years.
At 29, Ferdinand is about to enter the prime of his career. And with the added maturity in his game, Ferguson is not surprised in the least his star defender was named in the FIFPro team of the year on Monday.
"Rio's best years are in front of him," said Ferguson. "He is easily going to play for the next five years."
He added: "He looks after himself and he is very fit so I would expect him to be here for that length of time."
Many observers have pointed to Ferdinand's recent attack on the 'WAG' culture around the England team during their abysmal 2006 World Cup campaign as evidence of the player's growing desire to take on more responsibility.
Ferguson can see the difference, too, which is why he has been so unequivocal in his statement that Ferdinand will be United's next skipper once Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs finally call it quits.
"Rio has leadership qualities and we are really starting to see maturity in his game," said Ferguson.
"We always knew that he was good at taking the ball out of defence because he has such wonderful balance and great pace.
"Now we are seeing more edge to his game and more of a contribution in terms of being voluble towards his team-mates. He is much better at that."
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