Rio Ferdinand has responded to Sir Alex Ferguson’s demand that he clarify his position by confirming that he wants to stay at Manchester United.

Ferdinand has been in negotiations over a new contract and Ferguson has become increasingly frustrated that the former Leeds defender has yet to sign a new deal.

Earlier today Ferguson warned: “We are not going to be messed about. We have shown great faith in signing these players and we need to see it returned.”

“Rio’s agent is apparently out of the country. There is nothing much we can do about that but when he gets back we want a decision.

“It is important to the Manchester United fans that they get one.”

But Ferdinand responded: “I want to stay at Manchester United. I have said that from the beginning.”

“I can understand the fans’ frustrations but people have to understand contract negotiations do not happen over one or two days.

“They can take time and this is one of those situations. My agent is out of the country, which has slowed things down a touch, but hopefully they will be speeded up in the coming days.

“I am happy at Manchester United and I want to sign but these things do not happen overnight.”