Rio Ferdinand: When to hit row Z

When in doubt, kick it out, says Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand

The world’s best players all have one quality in common: decision making.

There’s a time to take a risk and there’s a time to play safe. Manchester United and England skipper Rio Ferdinand says he went up a level as a player when he learned this valuable lesson.

More after the break

“When you’re under a lot of pressure in your own area or in your own third of the pitch, you’ve got to make the decision that’s best for the team and not for you as the individual,” says Rio.

Put yourself in this situation. Your team is five minutes away from winning the cup final, a long ball gets played over the top and you’re the last defender. Your goalkeeper stays on his line and the opposition’s striker is hot on your heels. What are you going to do? Kick it into touch or show off your skills and try to beat your man?

Watch this video to find out what the Three Lions skipper would do.

As part of Nike’s The Chance initiative, a global search for young football talent, Rio has been helping to toughen up the four UK finalists ahead of The Chance world finals to be held in London, January 19-22. 100 players from around the world will take part in the finals and eight will be selected to play for the Nike Academy full time from next season.

Rio enlisted the help of James Milner, Ashley Cole and Aaron Lennon to help ‘mentor’ the four UK hopefuls. To follow their progress visit

See also:
Rise above the attack
Tricky or tall, it’s no problem
Rio: The thinking man's guide to defending
Rio: Handling different types of striker
Rio: Playing the ball out from the back
Rio: My pre-match playlist
Rio: Communicating with your team-mates

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