Rio keeps Anton on his toes

Ferdinand reveals ballet background

Anton and Rio Ferdinand

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Anton Ferdinand has revealed how interests away from the football field helped him and brother Rio make it in the Premier League.

The West Ham United defender kept in shape with gymnastics, while elder sibling Rio developed his on-field elegance with ballet lessons.

And Ferdinand junior is also keen to get back to working with horses once his career as a player draws to a close.

Ballet

Ferdinand told The Guardian: "I used to love horses and I worked at a stables in Mottingham.

"I'm not allowed to ride any more because of insurance reasons but I'd love to own my own horses one day and start riding again.

"I used to do gymnastics as well. And Rio had ballet lessons. He was 13 and I used to copy him at home.

"It's the sort of thing footballers slaughter each other for, but it has definitely helped him. Just look at his balance."

Shadow

Ferdinand admits that the inevitable comparisons with his England international brother did affect him as a youngster, but he is happy to have carved out his own career.

He added: "I've been compared to Rio all my life and when I was younger it used to get to me. I was 11 or 12 and it would upset me but, looking back, I think it probably made me a strong person.

"In football, you have to be strong and do it on your own so maybe it was a blessing in disguise when he left West Ham for Leeds.

"I was devastated at the time. I can remember him coming in one day and telling me that he was going and it felt like the end of the world.

"But I'm not in his shadow any more. I do feel I've made a name for myself now. And I've done it on my own."