LONDON: Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has offered Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt help in getting a trial with the Premier League football club.
Ferdinand told the 100 metres gold medallist he would put in a good word with manager Alex Ferguson after Bolt said he would jump at the chance of playing for one of the most famous clubs in the world.
“@usainbolt if you want that trial at Man Utd shout me, I'll speak to the boss!! Well done in 100m, waiting for you to smash the 200m now!” the former England captain tweeted on Tuesday.
Bolt, the fastest man in the world, knows the United players after he took part in a sprint through Manchester's streets a few years ago and helped then-Manchester player Cristiano Ronaldo with his sprint training.
Bolt made his request after his 100 metres victory on Sunday, where he notched up the second fastest time ever, behind his own world record.
“People think I am joking when I say that I would like to play for Manchester United,” British media quoted him as saying on Tuesday.
“But if Alex Ferguson called me up and said, 'OK, let's do this, come and have a trial and see if you are good enough' it would be impossible for me to say 'no'.
“I would not take up the challenge if I didn't think I was good enough. I am a very accomplished player and know I could make a difference. I would be the fastest player in the team - but I can play as well.”
Bolt, who competes in the Olympic 200 metres this week, warned Ferguson he will have to be quick though as the sprinter is only in Britain “for a few more days”.
“If Alex Ferguson wants to give me a call he knows where I am,” the Jamaican was quoted as saying.
He retweeted Ferdinand's offer, and replied: “After the Olympics we work on that...lol..thanks man.”
Ferdinand followed up his invite by tweeting after Bolt ran in his 200-metre heat: “u are jogging the 200m, this isn't fare! We'll put you upfront, just run behind defences + (Paul) scholes will find you but #CanYouFinish.”
Scholes is a veteran United midfielder.
Bolt would not be the first sprinter to look to try another professional sport.
Britain's Dwain Chambers, who competed at the London Games in the 100 metres, tried to relaunch his career in American football in 2006 following a two-year athletics ban for failing a drugs test.
Another British sprinter at the London Olympics switched the other way. Adam Gemili, who also competed in the 100 metres, turned to athletics after playing for English fourth tier football side Dagenham & Redbridge.
One United player, however, has jokingly suggested Bolt should stick to his day job.
“He'd obviously add a bit of speed to the team! But they are different sports. I think he's best staying on the track!”
England striker Wayne Rooney was quoted as saying on Manchester United's website.