The 34-year-old defender is about to enter his 12th season at Old Trafford, having joined from Leeds for a then-club record fee in the summer of 2002, and this year he will face stiffer competition than ever from the club's younger players such as Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.
With fellow defender and club captain Nemanja Vidic injured for long periods of last season, Ferdinand found himself as the elder statesman of the Red Devils' back four but now the former England skipper is ready to fight for a place in the starting line-up of the defending champions.
"It was the same last season," he told Press Association Sport. "There is a great history and it is part of the club with young players coming through and establishing themselves and I am all for that, but I want to play games.
"I want to play for Man United and the young lads are going to have to fight to get in the team just like I did when I was a kid.
"Now it is roles reversed but it is obvious if you want to win things you have to have rivalry within the squad and it is done the right way here - whoever gets the shirt is supported by everyone."
It will be up to new United boss David Moyes who his first-choice defensive pairing will be as the former Everton manager take the baton following years of unparalleled success under Sir Alex Ferguson.
The additions of long-serving Old Trafford favourites Ryan Giggs and Phil Neville to the coaching staff have been the major moves of Moyes' first few weeks in charge, which have largely been spent on a tour of Australia and the Far East.
"I think with a new manager there is a big change in the club, the biggest change for the last 20 years," said Ferdinand, who was speaking while promoting his new book Rio: My Decade as a Red.
"He seems so far to be very open. He seems like he wants to get immersed in the club and he wants to find out about the history of the club.