Fer­di­nand fears for United

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

MANCH­ESTER — Rio Fer­di­nand feels that Manch­ester United have changed be­yond recog­ni­tion since he left Old Traf­ford and is wor­ried about the club’sc abil­ity to at­tract the best young English play­ers.

The 36-year-old f for­mer cen­tre-back is one of 22 se­nior play­ers to have left United on a per­ma­nent ba ba­sis since Alex Fer­gu­son’s re­tire­ment in 2013 as part of a dras­tic restruc­tur­ing process started by Fer­gu­son’s suc­ces­sor­succ David Moyes and ac­cel­er­ated b by cur­rent man­ager Louis van Gaal. Van Gaal hasha spent over £250 mil­lion on new play­ers s since be­com­ing man­ager last year, but with United in tran­si­tion, Fer­di­nand wor­ries that his old club are no longer the draw they once were.

“I’m think­ing tro tro­phies. Where am I go­ing to go?” said Ferdin Fer­di­nand, who at­tracted in­ter­est from Barcelon Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Roma be­fore join­ingjo United from Leeds United in 2002.

“If I’m look­ing at it now and all those clubs come in for me now now, I’m think­ing who’s got a bet­ter chance of giv­ing me a tro­phy. Is it Man United? “Would you sit there and say Man United have got the best chance of win­ning me sil­ver­ware as a player? That’s the ques- tion you’ve got to ask your­self. I don’t think Man United are go­ing to win the league this year.

“You look at young play­ers, (Ever­ton’s) John Stones for ex­am­ple. He’s a young English player. “He’s go­ing to give who­ever he goes to 10 years’ good ser­vice. When you go in for a player like that, you’ve got to start selling them the dream.”

Fer­di­nand spent 12 years at United, win­ning six Premier League ti­tles, three League Cups and the 2008 Cham­pi­ons League, but de­spite hav­ing only left a year ago, he barely recog­nises the club now.

“I was talk­ing to Ne­manja Vidic the other day on the phone and we were both say­ing the change is un­real in terms of the per­son­nel and trans­fer pol­icy,” he told re­porters in Lon­don be­fore United’s 3-1 win over Liver­pool on Satur­day. “We were say­ing, ‘If they’d spent £50 mil­lion when we were there, we’d have won how much more?’

“It is to­tally dif­fer­ent and it doesn’t look like any­thing that I knew when I was there. It’s just all changed. Ev­ery­thing’s chang­ing other than the grounds­man and the chef.”

As well as chang­ing tack at board­room level, lav­ish­ing money on trans­fers in a man­ner rarely seen dur­ing Fer­gu­son’s reign, United are also a dif­fer­ent prospect on the pitch.

Gone are the devil-may-care at­tack­ing and dra­matic stop­page-time win­ners, and in their place Van Gaal has in­tro­duced a pa­tient, prob­ing style where keep­ing pos­ses­sion is key.

It has prompted re­ports of train­ing-ground dis­sent, and Fer­di­nand says: “The phi­los­o­phy is com­pletely dif­fer­ent.

“Man United sup­port­ers now have to go away and re-ed­u­cate them­selves on how to watch Man United. Don’t go there ex­pect­ing to see free-flow­ing, at­tack­ing, gung-ho football. “It’s a dif­fer­ent type of football, very me­thod­i­cal, clear-cut pat­tern of the way he wants the team to play, and it’s to­tally dif­fer­ent.”

Fer­di­nand is cur­rently study­ing for his coach­ing badges and be­lieves it is es­sen­tial that United em­ploy for­mer play­ers as coaches, such as cur­rent as­sis­tant man­ager Ryan Giggs, to keep the club’s tra­di­tions alive.

“It is vi­tally im­por­tant that they keep that lifeblood of Manch­ester United in peo­ple who un­der­stand the club,” said the for­mer Eng­land cen­tre-back, whose wife Re­becca died from breast can­cer in May. — AFP

rio Fer­di­nand

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