Feeling old, Rio Veteran United defender reminded of 'vintage' debut by team-mates Cleverley and Welbeck… who were aged just 6 and 5 at the time!
14:33 GMT, 26 November 2012
Young Hammer: Rio Ferdinand became a key West Ham player during the late 1990s
For most associated with Manchester United, May 5 1996 will go down memorably as the day the club sealed their third Premier League title after a 3-0 win at Middlesbrough.
Sir Alex Ferguson side’s triumph came after overhauling a 12-point gap to Newcastle, but for current United centre-back, Rio Ferdinand, the day was memorable for different reasons.
The future Red Devils star was making his professional debut for West Ham as a 70th minute substitute during a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday at Upton Park.
Ferdinand tweeted earlier today that he didn’t know how to react when reminded by team-mates, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck that they were only in primary school when he made his professional entrance.
In May 1996…
As Rio made his debut, George Michael's 'Fastlove' was No. 1.
Mission:Impossible broke opening Box Office records with 7.4m.
FIFA award the hosting of the 2002 World Cup to Japan/South Korea.
Ferdinand said on Twitter: @tomclevz23 + Welbz just told me they were 7 + 5yrs old when I made my debut for West Ham….didn't know whether to laugh or cry!#Vintage !
Cleverley's memory is not as sharp as one would suspect given he was six (and not seven) but it does put into context the vast experience Ferdinand has now gathered having featured a further 649 times in his club career since his debut
The then 18-year-old replaced Tony Cottee on the final day of the 1995/96 campaign before later going on to cement his place in the West Ham backline and sealing an 18million move to Leeds in 2000.
Sadly for Rio, his 20-minute cameo was not enough to convince Terry Venables to include him in the England squad ahead of Euro 96.