Man Utd legend Ferdinand outlines nine issues Ten Hag has had to deal with in Old Trafford ‘soap opera’

Joe Williams
Man Utd legend Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand played with Gary Neville during a tophy-laden era at Manchester United

Rio Ferdinand insists life as Manchester United manager has “become a soap opera” as he defends Erik ten Hag over their mixed start to the season.

The Red Devils have been beaten twice by Arsenal and Tottenham already this season, while they scraped narrow wins against Wolves and Nottingham Forest.

Those results leave them 11th in the very early Premier League table with Ten Hag having a number of issues to deal with over the international break.

Ten Hag and Sancho have publicly fallen out over the Man Utd winger’s training performances and Antony has been given a leave of absence in order to address allegations made against him of violence towards women.

And Man Utd legend Ferdinand has reeled off nine issues Ten Hag has “had to deal with” in his 16 months in charge of the Premier League outfit.

Ferdinand said on his Five YouTube channel: “Ten Hag has had to deal with a hell of a lot since becoming Manchester United manager. This club has become a soap opera, it is like Coronation Street or EastEnders. You get through one thing and then something else happens.

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“He has had 16 months in charge, he has had the Ronaldo fall-out, Marcus Rashford sub because he was late for a meeting, Glazers protests, the hokey cokey over the club being for sale, Sancho having three months out for personal reasons, Greenwood saga, now the Antony saga on top of that and the Sancho fall-out. Maguire losing the captaincy, but they can’t get rid of him and obviously there’s loads of injuries.

“Imagine having to deal with all that. I am not making excuses for him but none of those things mentioned are off-field stuff. It is a lot. As a manager you just want to coach your team and not have to deal with all these things publicly. It is huge news because it is Manchester United. At the end of last season, you could see the progress but the team hasn’t started this season.”

Antony Martial has started two of the Red Devils’ four Premier League matches but has failed to score or assist so far this season and Ferdinand has told the France international he has “got to deliver consistently”.

Ferdinand added: “I know for a fact, when the new coaching staff went into the ground and saw Anthony Martial training up close and personal, they were like, ‘I see why every manager sees him and rubs their hands together’, because the kid’s ability is world class. But he can’t put it together.

“Martial has got to deliver consistently, not here and there. It’s what Man United number nines do, look at the history of the best ones. They don’t have days off.

“That’s the problem with Martial. Fitness or form, he falls off. It’s disappointing in that sense, that’s the frustrating thing because he does have crazy ability.”