But he wrote in The Sun: "When I sit and think about it, Rio is the player for any game. Was and still is.
"I will not be picking the England team at the European Championship finals next summer.
"But if I were, he would be nailed on because of his class and calm on the ball, as well as his athleticism.
"There will be loads of superstars on show in the latest derby.
"Even so, if anyone can handle the hype and the hysteria of the showdown between United and City, it is him."