Given that it is the season to be jolly I won’t actually be looking to fight but upon reading an article entitled ‘The Man United Overrated XI Of Recent Memory‘ on Football Fancast I was close to flipping a table or two.
United have signed some whoppers and some of them have been hyped but some of the names that made the list are questionable to say the least. Jonny Evans has had a bad year but prior to that has been outstanding especially for a player so young. Looking at the fact he is just 22, if he goes onto become a star his selection will be void. I don’t think anyone over hyped or is over hyping Gabriel Obertan as he was largely unknown and we, like everyone else, were watching him properly for the first time. NOBODY overrated David Bellion, the ‘new Henry’ tag was a crock of bullsh*t and whilst we hoped he would turn out so, nobody was adamant that he would.
I won’t give up the whole list, I’ll leave you to discover the delights yourself but the one name that made me want to choke a priest was Rio Ferdinand.
Now I understand Rio may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I have heard him chided for being too ‘bling bling’ (whatever the f*ck that means?), for being Cockney, for the whole contract saga and even for the lapses in concentration he has had on field but surely there isn’t a single soul on earth that could deny deny his quality?
The piece states:
He has built a superb partnership with Nemanja Vidic over the years but the Serb is a far better defender than Ferdinand. Again, a player in his younger days that constantly was making error after error. He has matured into a pretty reliable defender but as he showed against Manchester City last season, there is always a mistake in him. He is not one of the world’s best defenders, and for that Rio makes the list.
Picking that apart wouldn’t be hard considering it has focused on the negative, thrown half a line in on him becoming a ‘reliable’ defender and then commenting on the bad again. As I have said there are some blips on Rio’s record but all of that aside Ferdinand has been and still is a bloody brilliant defender.
If you want to judge him on ability, you are on to a loser. His reading of the game, recover, ball playing and leadership set him apart from others, I have heard numerous youngsters single him out as influential and as friendly in terms of first team players. He is also referred to as the Rolls Royce of defenders for a reason and it’s not like this is exaggerated. He has been compared to Franz Beckenbauer and some have called him England’s finest defender since Bobby Moore and this isn’t just by Bill and Bob in the pub but big names in the game.
But if you want to make the foolish mistake of judging him on achievements it could get even uglier, looking at his United career 4 Premier Leagues and 1 Champions League amongst other trinkets aren’t the credentials of a overrated player especially looking at the role he has played in these wins. His individual accolades include being included in the PFA’s team of the year in 05, 07, 08 & 09 as well as being in the FifPro World XI, highlighting his individual performance as well as his ability to help the team.
He has been important to United since we signed him in 2002 and has shown this but none can deny the role he played in United’s double winning 07/08 season. Ronaldo stole the plaudits with his 42 goals but at the back he, Vidic, Evra and Brown were rock solid turning away Europe’s best every time they knocked at the door.
Injury has hit him hard but even now going through/having gone through these problems he is still level ahead of most defenders. His return to the team this season has coincided with us getting back on track and as he has shown in his performance against Arsenal, him being in the side is very much a positive.
Rio has very much warranted all the praise that has been lavished on him and to call him overrated in any capacity is worth a slap with a wet fish, the mere fact that we are setting up to replace him and having a stand in for Rio indicates how highly he is rated by people at the club, I mean no offence but if Gibbo was to go would there be such a clamour to find a replacement.
I tend to find that many players can be seen as overrated in the modern game and we tend to hold players from yesteryear in reverence so perhaps when Rio hangs up his boots this guy will appreciate how good he actually is.