Rio Ferdinand has expressed his admiration for Ian Cox, the player he made his full debut alongside during a loan spell with AFC Bournemouth in 1996.
Ferdinand made 11 appearances for the Cherries before going on to win 81 caps for England, six Premier League titles and the Champions League.
Currently a pundit for the BBC during their European Championship coverage, Ferdinand today took to Twitter inviting posters to ask him questions in what he described as a quickfire question and answer.
And in response to a question posed by afcb.co.uk asking how much he had enjoyed playing alongside Cox, Ferdinand replied with the following tweet…
Ferdinand clearly enjoyed his brief stay with the Cherries, describing his loan spell as "perfect" when he was interviewed by afcb.co.uk in January 2020.
Here is the full interview.
I always look back with fond memories on my time with AFC Bournemouth.
Mel Machin was fantastic for me and gave me a ridiculous amount of confidence.
He allowed me to flourish and to understand what it was like to play men’s football and what it meant to fans on a Saturday.
It took everything back to reality and really stripped it back. I would wash my own kit on a Monday and we would train in the local park.
Things like that really kept you grounded and made you think 'I appreciate where I am but I know I don’t want to have to play at this level'.
That wasn’t being disrespectful because it was hard. It made me realise where I was and I knew I was lucky.
I knew I needed to work hard to remain there or go on to better things so it was perfect in all aspects for me.
Ian Cox, Jason Brissett and John Bailey were the three players who looked after me the most and Russell Beardsmore as well.
Coxy was a great fella and a great player. It was no surprise to see him go on to play higher, he was brilliant and as quick as you like.
He really helped me through the Blackpool game. Udo Onwere was one of the Blackpool subs and is now my lawyer which is crazy!
I remember that game for a number of different reasons. It was my first introduction to proper men’s football and I loved it. I loved every minute of my stay.
The manager showed great confidence by putting me in straight away. At the time, I was low on confidence and wasn’t playing particularly well in the reserves for West Ham.
He saw something in me and gave me the chance and it immediately instilled confidence in me.
Fortunately, I played quite well in my first game and the manager started called me ‘Class’.
It was quite embarrassing in front of the team. He didn’t call me Rio, he used to say 'hey, Class, how you doing?' For a young player coming into senior football, that was amazing.
Click here to listen to our podcast with Ian Cox.