Rio Ferdinand confesses he thought like the fans when he first heard that Michael Owen has signed, but the England striker has since changed his mind.

“Initially I was surprised when he signed. But I was thinking like a fan,” said Rio. “If you look at his stats, he has played a lot more games than I thought but after seeing him close up I am very confident we have signed the right type of player. You can understand why the manager has put faith in him. He needs the ball delivered into dangerous areas and other people – the forwards and midfielders – are going to have to take responsibility for that because goals have gone out of our team and they need to be made up. One thing I’m sure of is that Ronaldo’s going will bring the best out in our players. We know he scored a lot of goals in the last two seasons for us, especially against the lower teams in the league. He’d get a couple of goals a game against them on a regular basis. But we’ve got players who we know are capable of doing that and now, whoever’s on the pitch, I’m sure they can go out there, do that job and fill the gap.”