MANCHESTER UNITED legend Rio Ferdinand has admitted his “most fun football” came during his time at Leeds United.
The former England star moved to Elland Road from West Ham in 2000, spending two years in Yorkshire before leaving for Old Trafford.
And although he won countless trophies as the Red Devil, the 43-year-old Ferdinand still has plenty of good things to say about rivals Leeds.
Speaking to BT Sport in 2020 after Leeds’ first starts in the top flight, Ferdinand spoke about his time at Elland Road.
He said: “As much as there was a lot of talk about me going to Man United and it was emotional, for a lot of the fans it was hard to accept.
“But I think in the long run the reasons I left were shown to be justified, but I probably enjoyed football a lot when I played here.” [at Leeds].
“I loved it at West Ham but we didn’t win that much, I loved it at Man United, we won a lot but with that came a lot of pressure.
“So the enjoyment factor is not as free as it was when I was here at Leeds, where we won a good amount in terms of games, got to good heights, Champions League semi-finals and so on, and there wasn’t that added pressure. or expectations with him.
“We were a young team, all good guys, we all socialized together and I had a fantastic time here, I really enjoyed my football here, I enjoyed my time, the people were great.
“Where I lived was fantastic so I never had a bad thing to say about Leeds. It’s always been a place I’ve always cherished because it was part of my journey.”
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Leeds succumbed to relegation two years after Ferdinand left for Manchester United.
But after 16 years of injury, they came back in a big way and their former defender believed they could take the league by storm.
Leeds made a successful return to the Prem as they finished a remarkable ninth after a year of swashbuckling football.
However, the club has undergone some drastic changes since then.
Long-term coach Bielsa was fired last season after a poor run of results.
Former USA international Jesse Marsch took over as Leeds manager in February to help lift the club out of the relegation zone.
Despite the new management, the Whites continued to play with the aggressive, high-pressure, high-intensity style that Bielsa implemented.
Ferdinand continued: “The way Leeds are set up, the way they play, they are going to outperform most teams physically, but tactically they look like a team that is very, very well set up and you can see there is a lot of work to be done. performs on the training ground when game day comes around because they ask the teams a lot of questions, whether it’s tactically or physically.
Leeds currently sit ninth in the Premier League table after a mixed start to the season.
They have suffered defeats to Brighton and Brentford so far and have shared points with Everton and Southampton.
But they earned an impressive 3-0 win over Chelsea just three games into the campaign.
Read the full interview on btsport.com.