After watching Tottenham topple Manchester United at Old Trafford in a result that is far overdue, perhaps owed via the medium of Roy Carrolls ‘successful’ scramble to keep out a speculative Pedro Mendes effort in a time that seems like yesteryear as since then we have installed goal-line technology, oh wait?!
But before I digress onto the already ‘too-many-cooks-broth-spoiling’ argument that is the diluted goal-line technology debate instead let me wade into another messy minefield of a footballing issue.
There has been a lot made recently of the potential for a Rio Ferdinand recall in the aftermath of the John Terry racism affair that has plagued English football for the past year or so, but my argument is why would we want Rio back?
Based solely on footballing reasons why pick at the debris of the plane-crash that was ‘Terry-gate’ just to paper over the cracks on the next flight. Against Tottenham at the weekend Rio Ferdinand, for all his class, experience and previous ability looked out of his depth.
Being run ragged by Gareth Bale is understandable. The Welshman has road-runner like speed and I would not have been surprised if he let out a genuine ‘meep meep’ as Rio Ferdinand tasted the dust of the Old Trafford turf off the heels of the accelerating winger.
Yet he was also partly at fault for the other two Tottenham goals, standing like he was playing stuck-in-the-mud waiting for somebody to crawl under his outstretched legs for Jan Vertonghen’s deflected opener and being dragged to one end of Greater Manchester and back by Jermain Defoe for the Clint Dempsey goal; leaving Jonny Evans to deal with a disproportionate amount of A. Tottenham players and B. portion of blame.
It was beyond a shaky display, it was one of those performances when you just shudder and think that maybe his time really is steadily running out at Old Trafford and as for England, bar all the political tomfoolery his recall would possibly entail he simply is no longer a viable option for England based on his footballing performances.
At the opposite end of the pitch Steven Caulker handed in a Grade A performance at the heart of Tottenham’s defence; those blaming him for the third goal should just look at the exquisite pass and deft touch and finish from Robin Van Persie and Shinji Kagawa respectively to realise he was faultless.
Ryan Shawcross, Phil Jagielka, Joleon Lescott, Gary Cahill and currently incapacitated club-mates Phil Jones and Chris Smalling should also sit above him in the pecking order; even Newcastle pair Mike Williamson and Steven Taylor could throw their hats in the ring if they were feeling particulary bold.
The fact remains, Rio’s days are over at international level, and based on the performance against Spurs it seems, unfortunately, that the soon to be 34-year-old is experiencing the inevitable irreversible dip in form that occurs in the advent of a professional football career.
What do you think? Is the end nigh for Rio Ferdinand?
image: © Paolo Camera