Rio Ferdinand Says He Was Left “Shocked” By Decision That Erik Ten Hag Made

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has said he was “shocked” that Fred was left out of the starting lineup for the game against Newcastle at the weekend.

Manager Erik ten Hag opted for a midfield three of Scott McTominay, Bruno Fernandes and Marcel Sabitzer but Ferdinand believes it was a mistake to omit Fred from the team:

“I was more shocked Fred didn’t play. In a game like that, understanding what’s need and what’s required from this game. Fred he has the energy, he has the legs he has the tenacity. At St James’, you need people that are going to get around, that understand it’s a physical game and be up for it.”

“You can criticise Fred all you want but energy, sacrifice, isn’t something you can throw at him. They are the things that come with Fred, I was really surprised he didn’t start the game.”

In hindsight, it does seem as though starting Fred would have been the smarter decision, especially as Casemiro was absent due to suspension.

The midfield was pretty much overrun, and you have to put most of the blame for that on ten Hag, not the players. Not only did the Dutchman keep Fred on the bench, but he deployed McTominay in an advanced midfield role, leaving Sabitzer to pretty much cope by himself.

It was a surprising setup and, considering how they were played off the park on Sunday, it’s unlikely to be a tactic that ten Hag will try again.

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