Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes Rio Ferdinand's influence could prove crucial in convincing Paul Pogba to remain at Old Trafford past the end of the season.

The highly rated midfielder has stalled over negotiations on a new deal with the Reds, amid reported interest from Manchester City and Inter Milan.

However, Manchester United boss Ferguson has revealed Ferdinand's presence could be the key to Pogba staying at the club.

"Rio has become an important figure at the club. He is good with the players. He is good with the young players," Ferguson told the Manchester Evening News.

"At the moment, he is working hard on the boy Pogba and talking to him. The young boy is unsure but Rio is well regarded."

Ferguson also took time to laud the contribution of Ferdinand, and insists the 34-year-old still has a future with Manchester United.

"The thing that has been hard for Rio is that having had agility, speed and athleticism when you get to 33 you have lost a bit, maybe 10 or 15 per cent," he said.

"So he has to change his game. He used to gamble, Rio. When a guy was slipping away from him he could go into overdrive and catch them but he can't now.

"I spoke to him about it and said you are not the player you were five years ago and you cannot expect to be and you have had the back injured and you have to take care of that.

"He does yoga now which is good. He has to adjust his game. I said your pace is not always going to get you out now so you have to read the game better now and he is doing great. He is doing better than he has ever done.

"It is all a matter of coping with an ageing player. We have done it with Ryan Giggs. He does yoga. Scholesy is back and is lovely and fresh. If you look after yourself you can get the rewards like that."