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Ferdinand open to talks over United sporting director role

Rio Ferdinand

London, June 12: Rio Ferdinand says he is interested in discussing a return to Manchester United as the club's first sporting director.

United are reportedly keen to make an appointment to support manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward currently in charge of negotiating transfers.

Former England and United defender Ferdinand is said to be among the contenders for the job and he was seen speaking with former team-mate Edwin van der Sar ahead of Tottenham's Champions League semi-final with Ajax.

Van der Sar has thrived in a similar job with the Eredivisie giants and Ferdinand – a television pundit and ambassador for Euro 2020 – is intrigued by the role, although he wants more clarity over what would be involved.

"It all depends on the shape of the job," Ferdinand said. "I don't think it's all been outlined at Man United in terms of: that's the job and this is the description. I think there's a lot to talk about within that.

"To be fair to Man United in that kind of role, the responsibility that comes with that, you can't lie and say that that's not a turn-on. Because you are helping to shape the fortunes of a club of that stature. That's a huge job.

"All the boxes would have to be ticked that you've got in your head before considering something like that.

"I think decisions made at a football club – not all, some of them – should come with a football thought process in the background somewhere, [someone] that understands that side of it and can make that kind of decision."

Ferdinand feels rebuilding a philosophy at United will be key if they are to return to the elite, having again missed out on qualification for the Champions League in 2018-19.

"Man United are looking for their ideology still," he added. "They went away from it after Sir Alex Ferguson, they tried to take it on under different managers and it didn't work, so they are still searching.

"They need to lock down a philosophy, an ideology, but it's not just the first team – it needs to be across the club, with younger players and the foundations, all the way through. There needs to be some sort of story at a football club for the stars and the staff to believe in.

"Liverpool have got that, Jurgen Klopp has created that. Man City have got that – Pep [Guardiola] has created that. But they have been allowed to create it. They have had time.

"Do I think Man United can do that? I think time will tell – Ole has a window to work in and then he has to put that jigsaw in place. It is a big gap between Man City, Liverpool and Spurs. They will build again, they will recruit again.

"Man United always used to compete from the front – from a financial position and from a trophy position, winning. So if you approached a player you didn't have to talk about money – we were winning the league every year."

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Story first published: Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 13:20 [IST]
Other articles published on Jun 12, 2019
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