Manchester Evening News

RIO BACKS REDS RAS

- By GEORGE SMITH

FORMER centre-back Rio Ferdinand has once again sympathise­d with United striker Rasmus Hojlund over the lack of service he is receiving.

Ferdinand has been a staunch defender of Hojlund during his maiden season at Old Trafford, frequently urging his team-mates to provide him with more ammunition.

He has scored eight goals in United colours so far, but his tally may currently be higher had he received a greater degree of service, particular­ly from out wide.

The likes of Marcus Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho and Antony have all been criticised at various junctures for not giving the Dane something to attack inside the box. Hojlund reacted angrily to Garnacho deciding to move the ball back inside when an opportunit­y was on to cross the ball during Sunday’s 4-2 win over Newport County.

Hojlund, who will turn 21 this weekend, has demonstrat­ed that he has the ability to put the ball in the net.

With that in mind, Ferdinand has urged United’s players to give the youngster more to feed off. “We keep saying it, it’s a broken record: put the ball in the box,” Ferdinand told Vibe with Five.

“Put the ball in and around him [Hojlund] when you’re in the wide areas. Don’t try and make it too pretty.

“He makes good runs when they’re out wide, I’ve seen enough of him close enough to see he makes good runs. But the people from wide areas have got to be told to put that ball in the box.

“He’s not been allowed to be greedy enough. He’s starved, my man is being starved.”

Having been the subject of an initial £64million transfer fee, Hojlund is under intense pressure to deliver in United colours.

Ferdinand continued: “This is a young kid still who is still finding his way, working out who he is.

“No one knows who he is yet, what he’s going to be.

“As he is the club’s No.9 now, they’ve got to really make sure they’re directing everything that’s going to get the best out of him.

“He’s under huge pressure, imagine being him with Erling Haaland on the other side – still the top scorer but hasn’t played for five weeks, sitting there chilling.

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