Sir Alex Ferguson has told the press that Rio Ferdinand may become more of a “squad player.” SAF told reporters:

“Rio’s almost 33 and he’s obviously lost a yard of pace he had five years ago but that doesn’t mean he can’t tailor his game in a different way – where he used to rely on pace he doesn’t do that now, he can’t do that any more.

We’ve all faced that decisive moment in your careers when you realise you have to change your game. I did it myself as a player … Rio will do the same and he will be fine.”

But the Guardian reporter Gregg Roughley wins with this sentence:

Ferdinand, 32, has found his starting place alongside Vidic increasingly under threat due to injuries and the emergence of the younger defenders Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and, to a lesser extent, Jonny Evans.

That “to a lesser extent” is pretty delicious, isn’t it? Anyway, this could Fergie’s way of lighting the fire under Rio’s flagging career, or he could be diplomatically beating the long and winding road toward his inevitable departure/retirement/drunken testimonial. Whatever this reason, I can’t help but think of this.