Football News

Rio Ferdinand confirms Man Utd talks over sporting director role

By CJ Smith

Published: 15:28, 17 June 2019 | Updated: 22:13, 20 September 2022

Rio Ferdinand claims he has spoken to Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward over the club’s sporting director role.

The Red Devils have long sought to make a structural change which would see a figurehead come in to oversee football operations while Woodward – who has often come in for criticism from United supporters – would focus on the commercial aspects of the club.

United’s sporting director search: Five key things to know…

  1. Ed Woodward has been in charge of United’s transfers in recent years.
  2. He has often been criticised by fans and pundits for failure to secure targets.
  3. Rio Ferdinand has emerged as a candidate to fill the sporting director role.
  4. Talks seemed to have stalled in recent months with fan fears over Woodward remaining in charge…
  5. But Ferdinand has now confirmed he is in regular contact with Man Utd.

United’s search to fill the role has stalled recently with fans worried Woodward would remain in charge of player recruitment for the whole of the summer transfer window but Ferdinand has admitted talks have already begun.

“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.

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“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.”

Since retiring from football in 2015, Ferdinand has been working as a pundit for BT Sport and the BBC, while he was recently selected as the FA’s lead ambassador for Euro 2020, with Wembley Stadium hosting both semi-finals and the final.