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Rio Ferdinand is an experienced centre back with Manchester United. A classy, elegant defender, he combines pace and power with a great ability to read the game and real quality on the ball, attributes that have established him as first-choice for club and country for the past decade. A product of West Ham's Academy, Rio progressed into the senior ranks in 1996 and soon emerged as one of the most talented young defenders of his generation, prompting Leeds United to sign him in November 2000. He continued to impress with Leeds and took over the club captaincy in 2001, but after the 2002 World Cup finals he was on his way to Old Trafford. After initially struggling to find his feet, recent years have seen Rio mature into the world-class centre back he always looked destined to become, and he is now a leader in a United defence that has been a huge reason for the club's recent successes. At the time of his international debut in 1997, Rio was the youngest defender to have represented England, and he has since accumulated over 80 caps. © 2011 - PFA Player Profiles
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