Man Utd legend Ferdinand laughs off comparisons with Arsenal defender as ‘madness’

Date published: Tuesday 16th August 2022 9:37 - Joe Williams

Rio Ferdinand speaks about Arsenal

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has dismissed comparisons between himself and Arsenal defender William Saliba as “madness”.

Arsenal signed the Frenchman for £27m from Saint-Etienne in 2019 before allowing him to return to the Ligue 1 club for the rest of the season.

He spent two more season-long loan spells at Nice and Marseille, with his performances last campaign earning him the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award and five caps for France.

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Saliba has produced two good performances in the Premier League this season, despite his own goal against Leicester City, and both William Gallas and Gary Neville have compared him to Ferdinand.

Gallas said: “Saliba is a really good player. When I look at him, he reminds me of a player I used to play against – and that player is Rio Ferdinand.

“If you look at how Saliba plays, and how Rio did when he was young, they have the same style.

“I didn’t say he will have the same career, but I hope he does. He just has a similar style to Ferdinand. I think Saliba will surprise a lot of people, he’s still so young and has much to prove, he will get even better.”

But Ferdinand – who won six Premier League titles during his career in which he played over 700 times – doesn’t think people should be likening the young Arsenal defender with legends like him.

When asked about comparisons with Saliba on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel, Ferdinand said: “How many Premier League games has he played? How many Premier League games had I played at that point?

“I broke the British transfer record at that time and people are drawing comparisons? It’s a madness! Give the boy some time!

“He’s doing well. But you don’t judge players when it’s all going well you say brilliant I like to see the next phase.

“When it all goes against you and it’s a little bit of distress I still want to see the chest popping out, I still want to see shoulders back and I still want to see you wanting the ball and see you on the front foot with that determination and desire… a lot of what we’re not getting at Man Utd.

“But Saliba he is showing great potential. Young player of the year in France last year but he’s got a lot to do to make sure he stay in the team but he started off very, very well.”

Jamie O’Hara has been critical of Arsenal signing Saliba in the past but he has changed his tune in recent weeks and has now apologised for getting it “wrong”.

“I’ll apologise, I absolutely got that wrong,” O’Hara told talkSPORT. “He is the real deal, what a signing.

“What a player he is and I know that he’s young but he could be sensational.

“He’s still got things to work on, like his positioning, but he looks really, really good.”


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