Rio backs Valencia to shine
Rio Ferdinand has backed Antonio Valencia to have a big impact at Man Utd over the coming season.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 22/10/09 5:02pm
Rio Ferdinand has backed team-mate Antonio Valencia to have a big impact at Manchester United over the coming season.
The winger was signed from Wigan in the summer for £16million as Sir Alex Ferguson looked to fill the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Following a subdued start to life at Old Trafford the Ecuador international has started to find his feet with the Premier League champions.
Having netted his first United goal at the weekend against Bolton, Valencia quickly grabbed his second in as many games when he scored the winner against CSKA Moscow in the Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday.
"I think everyone is very pleased with what Antonio has done," Ferdinand said after the UEFA Champions League victory.
"He is always available, always backing himself on the ball and doesn't mind a bit of contact. He is a strong lad and that's what you want.
"He's playing well and I'm sure he will keep improving and keep scoring goals."
Comparisons with Ronaldo are inevitable but the two players' characteristics couldn't be further apart as Valencia proved with his low-key celebration in Moscow.
"He's a really humble and quiet lad. He comes in, does his work and goes home," Ferdinand added.
"He is from the Paul Scholes mould of embracing hype and attention but he's the most confident guy on the football field and he's been very impressive since he arrived."
Ferdinand was withdrawn in the 57th minute with the score at 0-0 against CSKA but the England international insists it was a precautionary measure with the match against Liverpool on Sunday in mind.
"I knew before the game (that I was coming off). The manager said I would play around 60 minutes. It's just with an eye on Sunday," he added.
Ferdinand is hoping to heap more misery on Liverpool at the weekend but he insists the Reds' poor form will mean nothing when the game kicks off.
"We all know there is a big rivalry between the two teams, like you see in derbies or FA Cup games," he stated.
"But form just goes out of the window. It is about who performs best on the day and that is what we are trying to do."