Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that Rio Ferdinand is still very much part of his long-term plans at Old Trafford.
The England international is out of contract next year, but his Manchester United career does not like coming to an end any time soon.
Having overcome an injury-plagued couple of seasons, Ferdinand has already played more games this term than he has since 2009.
His injury record was one reason why Ferguson switched the captain's armband away from Ferdinand but he insists he is very much part of his plans.
On a new deal, Ferguson said: "It is down to how he feels physically himself.
"He is still young for a centre-back, in normal terms you would expect a centre-back with his athleticism to play well into their thirties anyway.
"We all know about his back problem, so we've had to manage that.
"He has adapted really well to the challenge of making sure he is fit and fresh to play in the games when we need him.
"How long he goes on for is all down to how he feels physically, other than
that he has no issues at all."
Ferguson remains a confirmed fan of Ferdinand, who he signed from Leeds United in 2002.
"I keep thinking I signed Rio three or four years ago, I forget he's been here for almost 10 years now," he said.
"He has taken on that role of the influential person in the dressing room. He is great with the players.
"If you can keep players long enough for their influence to spread - and in the modern game it's difficult to keep players for five or six years - they can take over from the older players as they disappear."