England stars ‘unimpressed’ by ‘unfair’ Rio criticism

Will Ford
Former Man Utd defender Rio Ferdinand

England players are reportedly ‘unimpressed’ by the ‘unfair criticism’ of them by Rio Ferdinand.

Ferdinand was a ‘hot topic of dicussion’ among the England players in the international break, according to The Sun.

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They feel the former Manchester United defender, whose views on his YouTube channel Vibe with Five can particularly contentious at times, has stepped over the line on a number of occasions this season.

The players are said to have no problems with criticism from Gary Neville and Roy Keane, but have taken issue with Ferdinand’s views on England, United and football in general.

Ferdinand has torn into Harry Maguire, Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw this term having been told by former United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that his comments about Phil Jones were “out of order”.

The report claims that the England stars are also wary that Ferdinand is not just a pundit, as he also has strong links to a football agency which has players such as Michael Keane on its books.

Ferdinand revealed who he would have in his England World Cup XI last week and there was no place for Mason Mount or John Stones, which may go some way to explaining the ruffled feathers at St George’s Park.

“I’m going to go three-at-the-back as I think that’s our best chance,” Ferdinand said.

“[Harry] Maguire on the left, Kyle Walker central and Reece James on the right. Trent [Alexander-Arnold] at right wing-back and [Luke] Shaw left wing-back.

“I’m going to go Declan [Rice] and [Jude] Bellingham. Foden in the hole and then two strikers – [Raheem] Sterling and [Harry] Kane.

Ferdinand later looked to justify his selections, starting with Chelsea defender James.

“Reece James coming out with the ball coming into midfield because he can do that; he played midfield as a kid,” Ferdinand continued.

“Trent out on the right. Walker centre, he’s covering the whole backline on his own. My midfield, Declan, Jude and Foden dropping in as a number 10 and coming back into midfield. Free role for Sterling, he can go where he wants, Kane holding the ball up and running behind.”