RIO FERDINAND has backed Paul Scholes as his ‘favourite ever team-mate’ in a debate over the top England midfielders of his generation.
The former Manchester United playmaker came through ahead of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, creating a major selection headache for the Three Lions.
When discussing his preference out of the three on his YouTube channel, Ferdinand opted for his old club pal and revealed just how grateful he was to have shared a pitch with him.
The 42-year-old said: “Scholes is the hardest player to keep back because he’s probably my favourite player that I’ve played with.
“He’s going to be my man because he’s done everything.
“I used to thank him for letting me be on the same pitch as him when we scored goals.
“I’d say, ‘Thanks man, it’s been a pleasure’. He used to think I was mad, I’m sure.
“I used to run up to celebrate all the time, I used to sprint up there after he’s done something, set up a goal or scored.
“And I’d go, ‘Scholesy! Thank you man, I love you man. Thanks man, thanks for letting me play with you’.
“I’d say mad stuff, Giggsy the same.”
Scholes was famously moved to the left wing by England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson in a decision Ferdinand described as ‘disrespectful’.
But the United hero conceded that Lampard was the better goal-getter of the three while Gerrard had the biggest potential to get fans out their seats.
Ferdinand noted: “Frank’s the most potent out of all of them, in terms of goals.
“None of those can get near Frank. Goals and assists: Frank dwarves everybody.
“Stevie was like Roy of the Rovers, he would drag a game by the scruff of the neck – big occasions as well.
“The problem with Stevie, I would have liked to have seen his impact in a great team.
“In great teams you usually share the load a little bit more. In his team, it had to be him. The ball had to go to him all the time.”
He added: “If I’m a manager, I’m going to take Frank because he’s going to get me 20 goals a year.
As a manager, out of Gerrard and Lampard, I’d go Lampard because of his goals and assists.
“If I’m buying a ticket to go to a game, I’m picking Gerrard. He has those explosive moments the other two don’t have.
“He does stuff that make you go, ‘Wow’.
“As a manager, out of Gerrard and Lampard, I’d go Lampard because of his goals and assists.”
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