Date published: Friday 10th September 2021 9:36 – Jason Soutar


Rio Ferdinand

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has backed his former club to “challenge on all fronts” this season due to their improved squad depth.

The Red Devils vastly improved their first team squad this summer by signing Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Sancho and Varane have already featured since their arrivals, with Ronaldo likely to make his second debut on Saturday against Newcastle United.


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And with their positive summer window, expectations have soared.

Club legend Ferdinand has highlighted their squad depth, especially in defence, as a contributing factor in their ability to challenge for trophies this season.

“There’s good players all over the pitch, players can come in during certain games and do jobs,” the former Man Utd centre-back claimed. “That’s what you want, especially in the back four.

“[Victor] Lindelof can come in for a game here or there, I’d be more than ok with that. [Diogo] Dalot’s staying at right-back, he had a good season with AC Milan. [Alex] Telles can come in for [Luke] Shaw, you’ve got back-ups everywhere.

“We’ve definitely got the personnel to challenge on all fronts and they’ve got the squad depth now. They’ve added one world class player [in Ronaldo] and another potentially world class player [in Sancho]. They certainly have a better opportunity to challenge for the Champions League than they have done in recent years.”

When asked what he would have done differently had he been in charge of transfer business this summer, Ferdinand said: “I would have probably tried to get a specialist defensive midfielder in, that’s probably the only area.

“Fred has done ok there and I think [Scott] McTominay could gel into that, big time, if that’s what they see in him.

“But I just feel if we had a specialist in there, who knows the role perfectly, that would give our back four a little bit more protection. But then if Varane is in there, do we need more protection?”

United return to Champions League action this week and despite Ferdinand’s confidence in the squad, he doesn’t expect the Red Devils to win Europe’s premier club competition.

“I think Manchester City and Chelsea have squads that have won things, they have more belief,” he says. “Liverpool have also won things in recent years so these squads in terms of experience as a group are way ahead of us.”

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