Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes the form of Rio Ferdinand has helped the Red Devils continue to set the pace at the top of the Premiership.
Ferdinand will make his 200th United appearance against Charlton Athletic on Saturday and Ferguson has hailed the contribution of the England defender this term.
"Rio has been fantastic for us this season. I've been delighted with him," he told the club's official website.
"I have only rested him for one game, against Wigan, but centre-halves can play more games. I don't think the number of matches will affect him one bit because he is a strong athlete.
"He has always had a fantastic talent, balance and his use of the ball is excellent. His technique is probably the best in the game for a defender. His concentration has improved."
Ferguson also believes Ferdinand's impressive partnership with Nemanja Vidic at the heart of the United defence which has blossomed this season can serve the club for many years to come.
"Rio and Vidic have formed a really good partnership and they can get better because they are young enough," he added.
"They will be the foundation of the defence for years to come."