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Sep, 14, 2010

Ferdinand plays down 'Battle of Britain' clash

Rio Ferdinand insists that Manchester United's Champions League opener against Rangers will be like any other European game and played down the significance of the match's England versus Scotland subplot.

Ferguson: Ferdinand back for United

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The clash has been billed as the 'Battle of Britain' in some corners of the media and there is expected to be plenty of needle between the fans, with many United supporters still upset about their Rangers counterparts' behaviour in Manchester on the night of the 2008 UEFA Cup final, when ugly clashes broke out in the city centre.

Ferdinand, who played the last time that the two sides met in Europe's premier club competition - when United beat Rangers 3-0 seven years ago - admitted he is looking forward to playing the Gers again, but he does not believe there is any extra pressure taking on the Scottish champions.

"It's a good start and a great game for everyone involved," Ferdinand told the Sun. "But it won't put us under more pressure than normal as every Champions League game is a big one. The media probably hype it up a bit more but that's part and parcel of life at this club."

Ferdinand is likely to make his first appearance of the new campaign at Old Trafford in the Group C encounter, and he insists that United will be serious contenders for the Champions League trophy again this season.

"We enter every competition to win," Ferdinand said. "I've said that every year since I've been here and that's just the way this club runs."

The United defender is facing a nervous wait to see whether he will be named the club's new captain after Sir Alex Ferguson revealed on Monday that Gary Neville will no longer be skipper.

Despite wearing the armband for England, Ferdinand is thought to face stiff competition from central defensive partner Nemanja Vidic, who has emerged as the favourite to be the new captain.

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