Rio: Giggs & Scholes inspired me

Rio Fedinand claims golden oldies Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs have inspired him to try to continue his Manchester United career for as long as he can.

He will pack up prematurely only if his body fails him.

The United defender, 33, is four years younger than Scholes — who came out of retirement earlier this season — and five years younger than Giggs.

Ferdinand, preparing to face Aston Villa today, said: “They are an inspiration to people like me.

“I’m 33 now and have been at the club 10 years.

“You see someone like Scholesy, who is 37, and Giggsy, who is even older, and you think to yourself that, hopefully, you can get to those levels in terms of both age and playing at the very top.

“But I think your body is the defining factor, telling you whether you can or can’t play at that level any more. Fingers crossed, my body holds up and I’ve another few years left in me.”

Ferdinand has had a succession of back and knee injuries in recent seasons.

Yet only last month United boss Alex Ferguson revealed United’s medical team have found ways of managing the England defender’s fitness better and insisted he can extend his career.

Ferdinand has played 33 games this campaign, more than his total for all of 2010-11, and is targeting a return to the England squad for Euro 2012 after first wrapping up the Prem title.

He added: “I’ve been to World Cups but never to a European Championship. So to finish the season with a title winner’s medal and then go to the Euros, it would be the icing on the cake.”

United remain favourites to lift their 20th crown ahead of rivals Manchester City, who they face on April 30. But Ferdinand wants it sealed sooner. He declared: “Obviously we’d love to have it wrapped up before then but who knows? It makes for a great run-in to the end of the season for the fans, whether they are for us, against us or neutrals.”

He also paid tribute to the way Fergie has kept a winning mentality at United through a period of change, having brought in young players such as Phil Jones, Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley.

Ferdinand insisted: “The manager knows best and his experience is so valuable to this team and this club.

“We’re in a period of transition but need to keep winning.

“We’ve a great blend of experience and the young players brought in recently haven’t won anything yet but have that hunger and desire to go out and win their first trophy. Hopefully, the blend will see us over the line.”

While England’s Euro 2012 preparations have been thrown into turmoil by the departure of Fabio Capello, who made Ferdinand his captain before the 2010 World Cup, the defender believes the players must be professional.

He said: “We’ve all been in situations where the manager has been questioned or you’re waiting for a manager to come in. But here the players just have to get on and deal with it.

“You have to be professional, that is what you are there to do. The structure in the England camp hasn’t changed much, so there is that to lean on and that experience to feed off.”