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Manchester United boss David Moyes is adamant that centre-back Rio Ferdinand still has a role to play at the club.
The centre-back has only made 13 appearances this season, with only two coming since November.
The 35-year-old has struggled throughout the season with a knee injury, with Moyes turning to other options to bolster his defence.
Ferdinand’s contract at Old Trafford expires in the summer but Moyes may still need him before the end of the season. Both Jonny Evans and Phil Jones were substituted during their 2-1 defeat at Stoke as United once again struggled in all areas of the pitch.
Moyes has confirmed that Ferdinand is back in training and he insists that he is still a valued member of the squad.
“Rio is back training. He’s back and we will continue to use Rio at the right times and the right moments,” said Moyes.
“Rio has made a great contribution, especially in the first half of the season. I played him in nearly all the opening eight to 10 games. He was a big part in helping me to settle.
“He has competition at centre-half but he is very much valued and looked at as one of the senior players.”
Ferdinand may be needed for Sunday’s home game against Fulham, but Moyes will be able to select Nemanja Vidic after he served his three-game suspension.
With Fulham struggling, Moyes’s men are priced at 1.20 to take the victory at Old Trafford, with Fulham a massive 10.23 to cause the upset.