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17th Jun 2019

Rio Ferdinand confirms talks with Manchester United over director’s role

Jack O'Toole

Rio Ferdinand has confirmed that he has had conversations with Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward about the sporting director position at the club.

Woodward claimed on his quarterly conference call earlier this year that the club are ‘looking at their structures and looking at how we should strengthen’ with several names already linked with a potential sporting director’s role, including former players Edwin van der Sar, Darren Fletcher and Ferdinand, as well as former Spurs recruitment chief Paul Mitchell.

Ferdinand has said that he has maintained contact with Woodward over the years and added that he has inquired about the role and will consider the position if the job is offered to him.

“I’ve always spoken to Ed since I left, anyway. I had that type of relationship with him,” Ferdinand told BBC Sportsweek.

“I’ve not seen him at a game, so all the chats I’ve had with him have been on the phone or I go and see him when I’m in London.

“I’m not the type to dilly-dally around. I’ve seen the stuff in the papers. ‘What’s that role about?’ I’ve asked that question – so yes, I have spoken to him.

“I’m very honest and Ed’s open and honest with me. Manchester United and the powers that be will decide as and when they are going to put someone into that role.

“If I am the person on that list and the person they are going to talk to, then that time will come.

“It’s nice to be on a list in such a responsible role at such a prestigious club. If the call comes I will say, ‘thank you very much for that’, but if that call doesn’t come, I’ll not lose sleep over it.”

Former United striker Dimitar Berbatov also linked himself with a potential director’s role at the club but stressed that the successful candidate cannot be given the role on the basis that they’re a former player.

Writing in his blog for Betfair, Berbatov noted:

“I’m curious to see which players come to United and while we can speculate Ole is in charge and hopefully the new recruits will be the right player for the team, not just to please the fans.

“After Rio Ferdinand last week, Darren Fletcher is the latest name linked with the Director of Football role but why not Dimitar Berbatov? I have the degree in Sports Management (as well as coaching badges) for starters.

“This is an important position, you are the link between the manager and the team and directors. United have to find someone who can do this the right way.

“I know about the job, how it is performed and it’s on my mind but you need to be ready for this. You can’t expect to be given this role purely because you are an ex-player and United will make a mistake if they recruit solely on that basis.”

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