Sir Alex Ferguson has told Rio Ferdinand his ability is not under question despite Manchester United only offering him a one-year extension.
Ferdinand's present deal expires at the end of the season and it is believed the 34-year-old has already been the subject of interest from Major League Soccer and the Far East.
However, Ferguson remains confident Ferdinand will extend his 11-year stay with the Red Devils even though it is obvious there will be no budging on the one-year extension he will be offered.
Having gone through the same process with Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, Ferguson feels his one-time record signing should be aware of the process.
"There is nothing wrong with us giving players one-year contracts," he said.
"Players with the reputation and ability of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand should not worry about that.
"It is quite straightforward. It is not to say we doubt them but it is natural you never know how they cope with getting older. Some do, some don't."
Ferdinand seems to be doing pretty well, having found a way to master the back problems that caused him such aggravation when they surfaced four years ago and led to so many spells on the sidelines.
Now, with his England career brought to a controversial end by Roy Hodgson, Ferdinand can concentrate solely on Manchester United matters.
And, as Ferguson outlined, he is impressing at the heart of the Red Devils' defence.
"Rio has had a great season," said Ferguson.
"Obviously he doesn't play every game but we prepare him for certain situations."
And that means Ferdinand could still be patrolling the United rearguard for a good while yet.
"Defenders, if they look after themselves, should have longer than Giggs and Scholes because they don't have the mileage on the clock that midfield or wide players have."