Ferdinand: Hernandez set standard
Ferdinand is hoping to be alongside Hernandez tomorrow when United visit Liverpool in an eagerly-awaited Premier League encounter. And he would much rather be in that position than find himself in the boots of his Liverpool counterparts, for the 32-year-old knows from experience how difficult the Mexico frontman is to handle.
"Not a lot of strikers make the runs he does," Ferdinand told Inside United. "It's physically demanding. You have to be really fit to make those movements for 90 minutes.
"If I was a coach I would tell every young striker that he should take note of how Javier (Hernandez) plays. That is what you have to do if you want to be a top footballer."
After suffering concussion on his first day of training on United's pre-season tour, then sustaining heavy knocks against both Chelsea and Stoke last month, Hernandez has struggled for continuity so far this season.
He still managed a couple of goals at Bolton though and Sir Alex Ferguson will hope the striker, who is set to sign a new long-term contract with the Old Trafford outfit, can find the net this weekend just as he did on his first visit to Anfield last March - albeit after Dirk Kuyt had bagged a hat-trick.
United have lost just twice in 28 matches since - at Arsenal and to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League final.
And, after collecting 19 points from a possible 21 in the Premier League this term, Ferguson is convinced his team have improved since that chastening night at Wembley. "Sometimes these things go in cycles," Ferguson told United States-based satellite radio station Sirius XM.
"At the moment, Barcelona are in a fantastic cycle. They have a tremendous squad of players. The challenge is to reach them.
"We have introduced some young players to the club this season who have tremendous ability and a great energy and spirit about them. We are making big strides towards the level Barcelona have achieved in the last two or three years."
Despite his shock at being hit by a three-match suspension for his red card in Montenegro, which will rule him out of England's entire group phase, Wayne Rooney is set to be included. Ferguson also hopes to have skipper Nemanja Vidic available for the first time since the opening-weekend win at West Brom.