Rio Ferdinand

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Swapping cleats for gloves: Rio Ferdinand to become a boxer

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It wouldn’t be the first time a professional athlete has tried his hand at another sport, but this one is a bit surprising.

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The Telegraph is reporting that ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is poised to become a professional boxer and is expected to announce his decision on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old has been a pundit for BBC and BT Sport since retiring from soccer 2015, but the six-time Premier League winner appears ready to tackle a new venture.

Ferdinand will attempt to follow in the footsteps of former Sheffield United striker Curtis Woodhouse — who went on to become British light-welterweight champion.

Below is a video Ferdinand posted to his Instagram account on Monday which appears to show him practice dodging with a personal trainer.

Giggs: Stones can be “top player” if he cuts mistakes out

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From a Premier League great to one of England’s up-and-comers, the message is simple: cut out the mistakes!

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Former Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs has acknowledged Manchester City defender John Stones as one of the PL’s brightest talents, however, he does also know that the 22-year-old must limit his shortcomings in order to be considered the best like Rio Ferdinand or Gerard Pique, who he mentions.

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Stones became the world’s most expensive defender this past summer when the centerback came to the Etihad Stadium from Everton for nearly $60 million.

Giggs notes that Stones has already exhibited great strides in his young career, and like many inexperienced players he’ll have to work the kinks out along the way.

“It is all about balance,” Giggs told ITV. “You look at all the great center halfs – Rio Ferdinand and Gerard Pique – they all made mistakes when they were younger, but center halfs and defenders mature with age.

“He’s [Stones] learning on the job. If he can cut those mistakes out he’s going to be a top player.”

Perhaps one day Stones will reach the heights of a Ferdinand or Pique, but until then he has a long way to go before being mentioned in the breath of those talents.

Rio Ferdinand would relish opportunity to manage England

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Sam Allardyce and even U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann have been linked to England’s vacant coaching position, but a former Three Lions player is now saying he would love the chance to take over his native national team.

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Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was recently asked about accepting the England position if he were offered it, simply saying he’d take it “all day.”

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Ferdinand, who earned 81 caps with the Three Lions during his national team career, saw the writing on the wall with England going into the team’s recent EURO 2016 campaign.

“When you don’t know your starting XI when you get to the tournament, and you don’t know your best formation, there’s a problem,” he said.

The English bailed out in the tournament’s Round of 16, falling to tournament darlings Iceland, 2-1. Despite boasting some of the Premier League’s biggest talents, Ferdinand cited the team’s lack of chemistry as England’s biggest pitfall.

“When you perform in a team, individuals can only perform to their greatest ability when the platform at the bottom is set, the foundations are set… the structure, the understanding of what you want your team to do.

“When a player then is not performing too well as an individual, he can fall back on that platform of structure, the team, the unity.

“That’s why I should be a manager.”

Ferdinand lauds Mourinho hiring: “This winner is now a wounded animal”

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Rio Ferdinand isn’t waiting for Manchester United to make it official, lauding the hiring of Jose Mourinho as his former club’s latest manager.

Ferdinand said Mourinho’s personality is “made for this great club”, as the longtime Red Devils defender took to Facebook to hail the Special One.

[ MORE: Five things United must do under Mourinho ]

Ferdinand, 37, made 455 appearances for United in a 19-year career that included stops at West Ham, QPR, Bournemouth and Leeds.

He says Mourinho will be a motivated and dangerous boss when he takes control in place of fired manager Louis Van Gaal.

“After his recent unsuccessful time at Chelsea in the final year, I can assure you this winner is now a wounded animal which makes him such a mouthwatering appointment. Jose went from winning the League Cup & Premier League to a season of disappointment at Chelsea and I am certain he will want to restore all of that very quickly.”

Ex-Man United trio blasts “pedestrian” CL performance

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“Pedestrian,” “not bad, but not good” and “you expect them to be better” — a handful of words and phrases routinely used by so many to describe Manchester United’s various performances over the last two-plus seasons.

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The key difference between your average fan — or journalist — lobbing such assessments at the Red Devils, and, say, the likes of Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves? Only 800-plus appearances for the Premier League giant and millions and millions of dollars earned.

So when the above trio went on UK television Wednesday evening and ripped Man United’s latest UEFA Champions League showing, a 1-1 away draw with CSKA Moscow, it carries a bit more weight, doesn’t it?

Scholes and Ferdinand, on United’s struggles — quotes from the Daily Mail:

Scholes: “You expect them to be more creative. You expect players to run with pace and penetration. There is a lack of creativity. You would think that with (Bastian) Schweinsteiger and (Ander) Herrera the quality should be there.”

Ferdinand: “I can’t imagine the frustration that Louis Van Gaal must be feeling, from going to the weekend against Everton to this, where the intensity doesn’t seem anywhere near the same.

“The exact word is pedestrian. I feel like a broken record. I have said it nearly every time I have watched Manchester United. When the ball gets wide, in the midfield and the forward areas, there are no options. It is just not Manchester United.”

Given that all three of the ex-United players quoted above are far enough removed from their United careers that they have very few direct ties to the current hierarchy at Old Trafford, we can safely expect honest and unfiltered opinions on the club’s current state of affairs.

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Nothing quoted above is an unfair criticism, nor do any of the three pull any punches. Since the day Sir Alex Ferguson left the bench at Old Trafford for the final time, United have lacked the creativity, the direction and the killer instinct to make them legitimate title contenders. Wayne Rooney, one of the few key holdovers from the Ferguson regime and United’s captain and supposed talisman, remains culprit no. 1 in this regard.