Sir Alex Ferguson believes Rio Ferdinand has enjoyed the best season of his Manchester United career.
The 34-year-old defender has shrugged off the injury problems of the past to feature in 26 league games for the 2012/13 title winners and has earned the praise of his manager.
"Rio Ferdinand has had his best ever season at the club," Ferguson told MUTV. "We have had continual problems with the centre-backs being fit.
"Nemanja Vidic has missed half a season, Chris Smalling has missed most of the season, Phil Jones missed a good bit and Jonny Evans missed parts. But Rio has managed his situation very well.
"Although we have left him out of certain games because we have managed him the right way, at the most important times he has been there."
Ferdinand is widely expected to agree a new deal at Old Trafford shortly and Ferguson is confident the former West Ham centre-back will remain with the club.
"I don't think there is any reason to think differently," added Ferguson. "I hope he will stay and I think he will too."