Having been dropped for United’s game against Everton at the weekend, Sir Alex Ferguson has suggested that Rio Ferdinand is no longer first choice for us.

Nemanja Vidic obviously has a place, whilst Rio will compete with Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones for the other spot in the centre of defence. Jones and Smalling have been used at right back whilst Evans seems to be Fergie’s preferred choice in the heart of defence.

“What I explained to Rio the other day is simply this: That we have two young centre-halves coming through and I’m have very happy to have four of them, and I hope to keep the four of them for a long time,” said Ferguson. “Rio is almost 33 now and obviously he has lost a yard of pace he had five years ago. That doesn’t mean to say he can’t tailor his game in a different way. Whereas he used to rely on his pace, he doesn’t do that now, he can’t do that now, that’s obvious. We’ve all faced that deciding moment in your career when you realise you have to change your game. I did it myself as a player when I lost that real sharpness and tailored my game differently. Rio will do the same and he’ll be fine. He will still play a big part for us.”