Manchester United and England soccer legend Rio Ferdinand has spoken of how video games were an important part of what made the team successful during his time at the club.
The defender, who was capped 81 times for the England National Team, is one of the most decorated players in the English game, with six Premier League titles, two major domestic trophies, and a victory in the Champions League in 2008.
In an interview with Radio 1 Newsbeat for the BBC, Ferdinand spoke about how games not only helped their success but also how players on-field style translated to the console, where “how people would play in a game, those traits would come through in football,” using a striker doing their own thing as an example.
Name dropping games such as FIFA and PlayStation exclusive military shooter series SOCOM, he describes gaming as great for team bonding and states that games played a big part of that successful era for the club. He also feels that current England coach Gareth Southgate should try to incorporate it in his set up.
Ferdinand is taking part in a new campaign, Get Smart about P.L.A.Y., designed to get parents more involved with their children when playing games, and he believes that it’s important for parents to be a closer part of their children’s playing habits.
“I had no idea you could put timers on — and get notifications when they’re buying things,” he said. “Until you can get all of that, you don’t really have a proper grasp of what they’re doing.”
Ferdinand stated that he felt too many parents “shove their kids on the computer for an easy life,” and the work he’s doing with the new campaign will help to promote heavier involvement. “I think parents have got to accept that from now on gaming is an integral parts of their kids’ lives, so don’t get left behind.”
He also pulls no punches when he plays, even with his kids. “I don’t let them win, they need to understand it’s tough love in this house,” he said.