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Dublin: 14°C Tuesday 20 October 2020

'Anyone else would have a statue outside Wembley' - Ferdinand defends under-fire Rooney

The former Man United defender believes Rooney will be appreciated more when he’s not around.

Ferdinand was in Dublin yesterday for the Web Summit.
Ferdinand was in Dublin yesterday for the Web Summit.
Image: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

RIO FERDINAND ADMITS there are no players in the Manchester United squad capable of deputising for Wayne Rooney amid growing calls for the striker to be dropped.

Rooney has been the subject of criticism from several quarters after enduring a difficult start to the season, although he remains Man United’s top scorer with seven goals.

The England captain, who recently turned 30, scored the winner in United’s Champions League win over CSKA Moscow on Tuesday but has come under fire for his lacklustre performances.

Serious question marks have been raised over Rooney’s capacity to lead Louis van Gaal’s attack but Ferdinand, who played alongside the striker in league winning sides at Old Trafford, believes he’s still the right man for the role.

“Wayne won’t be bothered by stuff like that,” he says of the criticism. “When you’re a top player, nobody’s career just goes steady like that unless you’re Messi or Ronaldo.

“Ronaldo went four games where he didn’t score this season and people were calling for him to leave Real Madrid. That’s how mad it is. The geezer’s scored about 1,000 goals.

“It’s a joke.”

Ferdinand, now a pundit on BT Sport, commended Rooney for answering his critics on Tuesday and the former England defender believes his former team-mate will be appreciated more when he’s retired.

“He’ll have been frustrated and eager to score the goals but he’s going to be someone when he retires he’ll be appreciated more than he is now when he’s playing,” Ferdinand continued.

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“Anyone else would have a statue outside Wembley already. He’s top goalscorer for England, he’s going to break the record for Man United, barring injury, so as I said everyone powers wane a bit as they get older but I don’t see anyone else in that squad who can come in, that’s the argument you have to have.”

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Group B - Manchester United v CSKA Moscow - Old Trafford Rooney has come in for criticism during the opening months of the season. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Paul Scholes has been one of several former United players to publicly question van Gaal’s methods and the direction the club is heading in.

Scholes has launched a string of attacks on his former club in recent weeks and was particularly critical before and after the Red Devils’ midweek win in Europe, labelling them as ‘boring’.

And Ferdinand would tend to agree, adding: “I just think when you look at the stats, that’s what the stats will tell you.”

“They are not creating chances. If they don’t create chances they won’t get goals. So I think that’s where the basis of Scholsey’s argument came from.

“Whether it was taken the right way, misconstrued a little bit, I don’t know. But if you are stating facts like your number nine has had two shots on target in the last two games before the Champions League game, I don’t think that’s a good average.

“You have got to create chances to give people the opporutnity to score and Man United haven’t been doing that of late.”

Former Manchester United player and BT Sport Ambassador Rio Ferdinand was at the Web Summit in Dublin yesterday. All BT Sport channels are part of the Setanta Sports pack in Ireland and will feature key upcoming Premier League games such as Manchester United v Chelsea on December 28th along with every UEFA Champions League and Europa League game. To subscribe, visit

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Ryan Bailey

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