Anton Ferdinand: I can't let Rio down by getting relegated with Sunderland
16 May 2009 03:56
Anton Ferdinand's desire to succeed is fuelled by the desire to spare his family the consequences of failure.
The 24-year-old Sunderland defender will run out at Portsmouth onMonday evening knowing he has reputations to uphold, and not just hisown.
Ferdinand, the younger brother of Manchester United and England star Rio, has similar ambitions, and is conscious that whatever he does reflects on his whole family.
He said: "I put pressure on myself every game. I am always talking to myself.
"One of the last things I will be saying before coming out of the dressing room is, 'I can't let the name down, I can't let the Ferdinand name down, I can't let Rio down, I can't let my dad down, I can't let my mum down, I can't let my girlfriend down', all different people.
"That's the pressure I put on because if I do, I'm not the one who is going to be getting it, they are the ones who are going to be getting it.
"Whether they are in the barber's shop or whether they are out in the street, people know they are related to me and they are the ones who are going to get it, so I put that pressure on myself.
"Especially being the younger brother of the best centre-back in the world, I certainly don't want to let him down."
But there will be more than just personal concerns at stake for Ferdinand and his team-mates at Fratton Park with the Black Cats having headed into the weekend only two points clear of the relegation zone.
Last Saturday's 0-0 draw at Bolton came courtesy of a much-improved performance following a worrying sequence of six defeats in seven league games.
However, Newcastle's 3-1 derby victory over Middlesbrough on Monday evening threw the race for survival wide open once again, and while remaining confident they can ease themselves out of trouble, Ferdinand knows there is little margin for error.
He said: "We knew it was serious before the game on Saturday.
For the last two or three weeks, we knew it was serious, but maybe the penny dropped with some of the boys.
"But we do a lot of things during the week together and when you do things like that, then it is going to come together on the pitch.
"All we have got to do is concentrate on ourselves and make sure we get the three points on the Monday, and that will confirm our status in the Premier League for next year.
"We have been lucky in the last four or five weeks that when we haven't picked up points, teams around us haven't picked up points.
"Maybe this might be different - people might have picked up points, so that puts us into the bottom three, so we have to deliver and that might bring a positive outcome, and hopefully it does."
The trip to the south coast will hand Ferdinand a reunion with former West Ham team-mate Glen Johnson, another man who has shown him the way forward.
He said: "Since he [Johnson] has moved from Chelsea to Portsmouth, he has proved himself to be one of the best right-backs in the country, and that's shown by him being in the England squad all the time.
"He's a very good lad, not just a good player, but a nice, genuine lad and someone who I got on with well at West Ham.
"He is a fantastic player and someone who isn't just good a defending, but good at going forward."