Ferdinand explains how Arsenal legend Ian Wright used to get in defenders' heads

Rio Ferdinand has opened up on how Ian Wright used to battle with defenders as he recalled an exchange with the Arsenal striker.

When the young centre-half broke on to the scene at West Ham Wright was one of the Premier League’s elite marksman.

Ferdinand was bought on for a brief cameo, his first appearance at Highbury, and tasked with keeping the Arsenal man quiet.

Even at his young age Ferdinand would’ve towered over Wright but that didn’t stop him making his mark.

“I came on for about 15 minutes I think it was,” Ferdinand told Mo Gilligan on Instagram. “I remember we got a corner and the ball was at the other end obviously.

Rio Ferdinand burst onto the scene at West Ham

“I’m on the halfway line marking Wrighty and it is all starting, people getting into position and Wrighty is standing there just looking at me.

“He was just screwing me and I’m just trying to look over him just not taking any notice and Wrighty’s gone ‘I know you can see me, look at me, look at me’.

“And then he poked his big fingers in my forehead so I pushed and he went ‘I got you’.”

Ferdinand was not expected to play that afternoon having only travelled with the Hammers squad.

He admits to enjoying several brandy and Cokes before being called up at the eleventh hour.

Ian Wright was a prolific frontman

But his clash with Wright was nothing new to the Arsenal forward who had done it to other top flight defenders.

“I saw Michael Duberry a little while later and he said he’d done the same thing to him,” Ferdinand added.

Ironically Wright would move to West ham in 1998 meaning he and Ferdinand became team-mates.

The defender sought answers and asked why he’d gone about his business in that manner.

He said: “Years later I said to Wright ‘why was you like that?’ and he went ‘I gotta get up, I gotta get up on you. I can’t just let you come on and think you’re going to have an easy game. This is what I do’.”


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