Ferdinand desperate to play
Rio Ferdinand admitted that he will be disappointed if he does not feature against Aalborg on Wednesday
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 09/12/08 2:34pm
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand admitted that he will be disappointed if he does not feature against Aalborg in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.
United have already qualified for the next phase of the competition but the England international is determined to play.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has hinted that he may make changes to his side as he looks to keep his players fresh due to their busy fixture schedule.
Ferdinand, who was also left out of United's Carling Cup quarter-final win over Blackburn on Wednesday, understands his manager's logic but says it still does not make the frustration disappear.
He said: "Players do not just accept they will miss games. I like playing. When the manager told me I was not playing last Wednesday, I still wanted to.
"It's a chance to win another trophy and you want to be involved. I actually prefer to play two games a week.
"We are used to it and you get the momentum of playing every week. Missing matches is not something I rub my hands about."
If Ferdinand does not feature he could see team-mate Jonny Evans take his place.
Evans featured in the clash with Blackburn and played 90-minutes in United's last Champions League outing against Villarreal.
The Northern Ireland international was persuaded by Ferguson to stay at the club in the summer after interest from Sunderland, with the United boss promising the youngster more first team action and Ferdinand has been impressed so far.
He added: "It is great to have youngsters pushing through. Whenever Jonny has been called upon, he has done admirably.
"He is a young player with great talent and Roy Keane was quite interested in taking him to Sunderland when he was there so that speaks volumes about him.
"He is working hard on the training pitch and that usually means that you get a bit of luck when you play."
If United can match Villarreal's result away at Celtic then the Red Devils will go through as group winners.
United have in the past learnt the hard way of how important it is to finish top of the table.
In 2004/05, with qualification already sealed, United rested key players for the final group match against Fenerbahce, which they lost 3-0.
The result resigned United to second in the group and after drawing AC Milan in the last 16 they were duly knocked out.
Despite being a part of the squad which suffered against Milan, Ferdinand does not believe that finishing top is vitally important.
He said: "Finishing top is not the be all and end all. The manager always likes it but you have Real Madrid and Bayern Munich going to finish second, who are big clubs, so you can still get a massive game in the next round even if you win the group.
"It would be nice to finish top but it would not be a catastrophe if we ended up second."
Ferguson will be boosted by the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo trained with squad on Tuesday ahead of the Aalborg game and could now feature.
The winger was expected to miss the game after substituting himself in the 1-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday with a hip injury.
Patrice Evra and Michael Carrick were the most noticeable absentees from the session so John O'Shea, recently back from a hamstring injury, could return.