I’ve played Terry, love Stam, but Man United legend is Prem’s best defender

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There have been some outrageously good defenders that have played in the Premier League but one Manchester United star has been called the best.

Rio Ferdinand had an incredible career at Old Trafford after signing from Leeds United in 2002 for just under £30million – a world record for a defender at the time.

Ferdinand is the Premier League's best ever defender, believes Tom Huddlestone


Ferdinand is the Premier League’s best ever defender, believes Tom HuddlestoneCredit: getty

What followed was 12 trophy-laden years with Ferdinand winning six Premier League titles, two League Cups as well as the Champions League in 2008.

The former England international was a bedrock of Sir Alex Ferguson‘s success at United, and had an imperious partnership in defence with Nemanja Vidiv, so much so that he is touted as one of the best defenders the Premier League has ever seen.

And speaking to talkSPORT, Red Devils academy coach Tom Huddlestone has gone as far as to say he is the best.

The ex-Tottenham star has played against some of the biggest names in the Premier League including Virgil van Dijk, John Terry, Sol Campbell and Vincent Kompany.

But it is Ferdinand who tops the lot according to Huddlestone, as he spoke to Andy Goldstein and Darren Bent on talkSPORT Drive.

He said: “I’ve played with Rio in a couple of England squads. I thought that 2002 World Cup, I thought he was the best defender in the world.

“Cultured, good on the ball, if he wanted to play in midfield he probably could have from a young age. Yeah, Rio was class.

“With the younger players coming through the squad, I had a few chats with him myself and he was helpful, having been in a couple of squads with him.”

Chelsea icon John Terry has also been credited by Huddlestone


Chelsea icon John Terry has also been credited by HuddlestoneCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Huddlestone never played with or against Jaap Stam but is a massive fan of his


Huddlestone never played with or against Jaap Stam but is a massive fan of hisCredit: getty images – getty

When asked by Goldstein if he was the best defender ever in the Premier League, Huddlestone replied: “He would be, in my opinion.

“I think there are three or four up there. John Terry, Jaap Stam, albeit he was only there three years but won the title every year, probably them three.

Tom Huddlestone reveals David Beckham was the only player that ever made him feel starstruck in his career

“Who else? Vincent Kompany? Campbell? Virgil van Dijk… but Ferdinand, Terry and Stam would be my main three.”

Ferdinand distinguished career began at West Ham where he came up through their famous academy, which produced other stars including Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Jermain Defoe around the same time.

He went on to make 709 club appearances for the Hammers, Leeds, United and QPR, as well as a short stint on loan at Bournemouth as a youngster.

Ferdinand was also one of England’s main men at the back, playing 81 times from 1997 to 2011 and was renowned for his silky skill on the ball, his pace and defensive awareness.

The defender’s winning mentality was infectious at Old Trafford, where Fergie would not entertain pretenders and he became a pillar in a dressing room full of big stars including Roy Keane, Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham.

Despite the star power at United, Ferdinand became as important as anyone else at the club while Huddlestone’s story about Beckham might rankle for Ronaldo.


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