Rio Ferdinand admits Manchester United made a costly mistake by allowing Chris Smalling to leave for Roma in the summer.
The England international was deemed surplus to requirements by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following the world record purchase of Harry Maguire from Leicester City.
Injuries to Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, and Marcos Rojo, allied to Victor Lindelof’s continued struggles, have meant United’s defence remains a huge cause of concern to their manager.
Maguire, himself, has struggled in recent weeks and was at fault for Chris Wood’s opening goal last night as Burnley recorded a seismic upset at Old Trafford.
Burnley take the lead at Old Trafford! 😮
Chris Wood gets on the end of Ben Mee’s flick on and the Clarets rejoice!
Goal number 🔟 for the season! 👏 pic.twitter.com/P6v719LnI0
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 22, 2020
And Ferdinand believes Solskjaer acted too swiftly in the summer by allowing Smalling, who is poised to join Roma on a permanent basis, to leave during the close season.
‘Chris Smalling,’ replied Ferdinand when asked who Manchester United’s best defender was. ‘He’s the best defender at the club.
If we’re talking just outright defending, he’s the best defender at the club. I don’t understand it. ‘That’s just my opinion as a centre-half looking at it.
If I was playing against Burnley today and had to pick a centre-half from Manchester United to play, he would be the first name on the sheet.’
Maguire was confirmed as United’s new captain earlier this week following Ashley Young’s move to Inter Milan and Ferdinand, meanwhile, felt the skipper was culpable for Wood’s well taken first half goal.
He said: ‘Go up and win it. Show the desire to win the ball. Someone has to go in there and be commanding. Maguire, you’re the captain.
‘The first ball isn’t really the problem. It’s the second ball. What are you doing there, Maguire? ‘He’s in a great position but what happens? He doesn’t anticipate it. You cant be that far off. He gets in front of him and gets punished.’
“Just get against people, rough people up. You’ve got to make it difficult for people. That’s too easy.”