Midfielders positioned to protect the back four have been in vogue in recent years, with former Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas regularly using them in his methodical style.
But Sherwood has completely changed Tottenham's philosophy, allowing his squad to play with freedom.
And the early results have paid dividends for Sherwood, who has seen his side win five of their six Premier League matches under his tutelage.
Ferdinand thinks that midfielders should be smart enough to know when to defend, telling the Tottenham & Wood Green Journal: "I know there's a lot of talk about holding midfield players, and I'm always arguing with Tim and Chris about this - and they agree.
"I don't like holding midfield players.
"I like players to understand that if one goes forward, the other one tucks in for them. I don't want someone who just sits in front of the back four and doesn't go anywhere, but that's just my own personal view.
"I was saying to William Gallas when he was here, the worst thing that happened in this league was Claude Makelele.
"When he came into this country (to Chelsea in 2003) he wasn't a holding midfield player. He was a player who had the intelligence to say 'Frank (Lampard), you can score more goals than me so if you go I'm going to tuck in here for you, and I'll hold. You keep going forward'.
"Then everyone went 'right, we've got to have a holding midfield player' - and what we've done is produce a crop of players who don't want to go over the halfway line, who don't want to pass over the halfway line and are happy to just sit in front of the back four."
Ferdinand pointed towards Manchester City's success this season as a perfect example of why teams do not need holding midfielders.
"Do Man City play with one (a holding midfielder)? They've still scored 100-odd goals," he added.
"People say Yaya Toure is a holding midfielder. No he isn't, he's getting forward and getting goals - but if someone else goes he'll stay in there.
"Fernandinho's scoring goals. Why? Because he's a holding player? No. They've just got an understanding: 'If he goes, I'll hold, and if I go he'll hold'."
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