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Dublin: 7°C Wednesday 12 May 2021

Rio: 'I never got a chance to say goodbye when I left United'

Ferdinand swapped Old Trafford for Loftus Road during the summer.

AHEAD OF HIS return to Old Trafford on Sunday, Rio Ferdinand has claimed he never got an opportunity to say a final farewell to Manchester United.

Speaking to BBC’s Football Focus programme, the centre-back, who left the club in the summer after twelve years there, said:

I had great years there. I had some really good times there. I never got to say goodbye when I left which was unfortunate. So it (Sunday’s game) will be a nice opportunity to say goodbye to a lot of people who supported me and helped me get the achievements I’ve been able to get my hands on.”

The 35 year-old also gave his views on his former club’s poor start to the season under new manager Louis van Gaal. United head into the weekend’s fixture having claimed just two points from their opening three league games of the campaign while also suffered a humiliating League Cup exit at the hands of MK Dons.

Soccer - Capital One Cup - Second Round - Milton Keynes Dons v Manchester United - Stadium:mk It's been a tough start for Louis van Gaal at Manchester United but Rio Ferdinand believes the Dutchman will make things right. Source: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

“During pre-season, I was really excited for Man United. They looked really, really fit, really decisive and looked like they had a good understanding of the system. And it was just like a complete reversal once the season started. But I think they’ll get it right. The manager who’s there now gets things right. I’ve got every confidence that he’ll bring back good times for Manchester United. It’s just a matter of how long.”

With United having spent heavily over the last twelve months, and particularly during the last transfer window, many have been quick to criticise how far removed the club has become from their ethos of developing young players and allowing them first-team opportunities. Ferdinand believes the arrivals of established, high-profile names means United are now operating in a similar way to their main competitors.

The real traditional Man United fans who are real followers of the club took great pride and pleasure in the club producing home-grown players and it seems there might be a change in the order. But those genuine fans who took pride in looking at other clubs and seeing them spend and splash cash, they can’t use that to beat anyone anymore.”

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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