Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has backed his experienced centre-back Rio Ferdinand to keep playing an important role at the club head of their Carling Cup clash on Tuesday.
The Premier League title holders take on Crystal Palace at Old Trafford following a tough week for the club, which saw them held to two draws at the Theatre of Dreams.
United had to settle for a point in the Champions League with a 2-2 draw with Benfica, followed by a 1-1 stalemate with Newcastle United on the weekend in controversial circumstances. People placing a Carling Cup bet should remember this.
It was that man Ferdinand in the centre of the attention after his seemingly well timed tackle was given as a penalty for the Magpies, which was then duly slotted home by striker Demba Ba to give the Red Devils just a point on Saturday.
United and Ferdinand will be looking to put that behind them when they host Palace on Tuesday and despite his age, Ferguson believes his defender still has a key role at the club. Those looking at the odds Carling Cup need to bear this in mind.
He said: "Rio's been a great player for us and it's important to explain his present position.
"There's absolutely nothing wrong with that (age), absolutely not. I have no issues at all with Rio, he can play for another couple of years quite easily.
"He's a big figure in our dressing room, so that will continue. I have no thoughts of letting him go."
Palace will be heading to Old Trafford looking to cause another upset to give Ferguson more to think about after a frustrating week for the Scotsman.