Rio Ferdinand's non-negotiables helped make Manchester United so great

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Rio Ferdinand

When discussing the best centre-backs to have graced the Premier League, one name will come up almost without fail: Rio Ferdinand.

Having signed for Manchester United to become the most expensive British footballer ever at the time, expectations were high for Ferdinand at Old Trafford. Indeed, he certainly did not disappoint.

During his 12-year stay at the club, Ferdinand was a commanding presence at the back, as United continued their domination of English football.

Across that period, Ferdinand lifted six league titles, won three League Cups, and, of course, the Champions League in 2008.

Meanwhile, he was also a key figure for England during this time and earned 81 caps, a remarkable feat given that he played during the side's 'Golden Generation' era.

After hanging up his boots for the final time in 2015, Ferdinand took up a role as a pundit, which he continues to excel in to this day.

Recently, he took time out of his busy schedule to join Jake Humphrey and Damian Hughes on The High Performance Podcast.

During his appearance, Ferdinand was asked to outline the three behaviours that defined the culture at United. Here, GIVEMESPORT takes a look at those in detail...

1. High standards in training

When United enjoyed their greatest success under Sir Alex Ferguson, they maintained the highest standards on the pitch. According to Ferdinand, that was also the case in training, as you might expect.

Speaking on the podcast, Ferdinand recalled when a training session was halted prior to a Champions League final due to Dimitar Berbatov not putting in maximum effort.

He said: "I remember a training session had to be stopped because, before a Champions League final I think, and he didn't come across the pitch.

"I had the ball one side, and he was on the other side of the pitch. He's our centre forward by the way, almost on the left wing. And I've got the ball and I'm waiting for him to come to help me so I can pass the ball to him, or pass it up the pitch, 'cause we were being marked out of the game deliberately in a training session.

"So to play over the press. He's still over there. I'm screaming. I've kicked the ball off the pitch."

This example gives a clear insight into exactly how much Ferdinand expected from his teammates.

Rio Ferdinand

2. Work ethic

The Berbatov anecdote also ties in nicely with Ferdinand's second non-negotiable behaviour.

It is clear that United had a hugely talented group of players when Ferdinand was at the club, but they also refused to be outworked by the opposition.

Ferdinand admits that he was hard on his teammates, always pushing them to work and improve so that the team would have a better chance of winning.

Looking back on the struggles that Wilfried Zaha had in Manchester, Ferdinand said: "He's a player I was onto on a regular basis, and he would say now looking back 'Rio was onto me'.

"But it was for the betterment of the team. It wasn't from they had a personal issue or anything like that. I saw that he could be a great asset. He needs this and that, and I'm gonna try and put it into him and get onto him every day."

3. Mentality to win

When asked what the expectation was like when he first walked into the United dressing room, Ferdinand's response was short but sweet.

"To expect to win. You take a trophy home a season, minimum."

That did not change over the next dozen years, and Ferdinand spoke passionately about how much winning meant to him.

He said: "The hunger, there's a desire there that burns every day."

With an attitude like this, it's no wonder that United fought until the final whistle in every game, often triumphing in 'Fergie Time.'

These three behaviours helped United become one of the most feared teams in the world, and cemented their place in the history books. It is a side that United supporters will never forget.

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