'The biggest mistake of my life' - Rio Ferdinand opens up about Leeds debut
By Harvey Byrne
Rio Ferdinand has revealed that he thought he made the biggest mistake of his life during his debut for Leeds.
The centre-back great made the move to Yorkshire in 2000 at just 22 years of age from West Ham for a then British transfer record of £18million, which also made him the world’s most expensive defender.
However, his debut for the club was more than forgettable as he slotted into a three-man defence alongside Jonathan Woodgate and Lucas Radebe before falling to a 3-1 defeat against Leicester.
Ferdinand went on to have a glittering career after that match, but he has told of how he learned a lot from that match, while also thinking he had made a big mistake as West Ham leapfrogged Leeds in the top-flight.
“Filbert Street was a hard place to go, especially for your first game at a new club,” told Ferdinand to FourFourTwo.
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“The manager tried to integrate us all in a new system and it just didn’t work, while West Ham won and went above Leeds in the league. I remember thinking: ‘Oh my God, I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life.’ Straight away you doubt, but in time I got the feeling of what it’s like at a big club: you either enjoy it or you sink.”
Ferdinand made 68 appearances for Leeds in total between 2000 and 2002, helping the club to a fourth and fifth place finish in the Premier League.
The former centre-back ended up leaving Leeds and Yorkshire for fierce rivals Manchester United for a fee of £30million, making him the wold’s most expensive defender for the second time as well as the most expensive British footballer in history at the time.
He went on to make 81 caps for England and also helped United win six Premier League title, three League Cups and one Champions League in 2008.
In other Leeds news, Garry Monk had this message for fans ahead of the Newcastle clash.