Rio Ferdinand has admitted FA Cup opponents West Ham United hold a special place in his heart, but insists there will be no love lost tonight.
The Manchester United and England centreback began his career in a Hammers side that included teammate Michael Carrick and Joe Cole in what was labelled a golden generation.
But despite a love affair with the club for which he signed his professional contract, Ferdinand is determined to dump Cole and co out of the cup tomorrow night.
“West Ham is special for me,” he told the club website.
“That will be part of West Ham’s history forever, the era we had there, with so many players who went on to play for England and win league titles with other clubs.
“Joe Cole has gone there to rewrite a bit of his own history – it would be good to see him do something good, but not on Wednesday, we want to get through this round.”
And Ferdinand – who left West Ham for Leeds United for a then British record £18million – sees similarities between the Old Trafford giants and the club where he grew up.
“I look at West Ham as being a similar club to Manchester United in terms of their history and the way they keep all their people for so many years,” he explained.
“It is a club that is close to my heart because I came through the ranks there. I look out for their results, after Manchester United’s results. I am sure it will always be that way.”
The FA Cup remains one of the only pieces of silverware missing from Ferdinand’s extensive trophy cabinet after the 34-year-old missed out on the Red Devils’ 2004 triumph.
“It is something I would love to rectify and change,” he said. “What will be will be – Fingers crossed, we will win it this year.”