LONDON (Reuters) – After nearly 20 years spent working through the Christmas holidays Rio Ferdinand could be forgiven if he wanted to put his feet up and enjoy the fruits of his long career.
Instead, the former Manchester United and England defender is hoping to be as busy as possible during the packed festive fixture list, helping Queens Park Rangers edge away from the wrong end of the Premier League.
Since leaving Manchester United after 12 trophy-laden years last summer, the 36-year-old has found opportunities at QPR limited and has made only four appearances for the club managed by Harry Redknapp – his first boss when he broke into the West Ham United team as a teenager.
With QPR facing three games in six days, however, starting with a London derby at Arsenal on Friday, Ferdinand is ready for action, if required.
“It’s a beautiful day for training,” the father of three told Sky Sports from QPR’s training ground early on Friday.
“It reminds me a little bit of (Ryan) Giggs at Manchester United, he never really got his boots on until Christmas.
“I played a bit at the beginning of the season and come out of the team and hopefully now I will get some minutes.
“We’ve not got the blessings of the biggest squad in this league, we’ve got 25 players, a small group that the manager rotates and he will have to utilise us so we can stay fresh.”
Ferdinand made more than 400 appearances for United and won nearly every honour in the game, but life at QPR is throwing up new challenges.
“I was under no illusions that this was going to be a difficult season, a different season,” he said.
“But I’ve been really enjoying it, it’s a great experience, even if I’m having to get used to looking up in the league rather than down.