Ferdinand names the only player who “comes near” Declan Rice, slams Man Utd for allowing him to join Arsenal

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has hit out at his former club for allowing Declan Rice to join Arsenal this summer, whilst heaping praise on the England international for the impact he’s had at the Emirates Stadium.

Rice scored a stoppage time winner for the Gunners in their win away to Luton Town this week, and he’s generally been superb since making the big-money move from West Ham United in the summer.

It’s clear the 24-year-old could have been a superb addition for almost any club in the world, with Ferdinand saying it’s only really Jude Bellingham who comes close in terms of the instant respect he’s commanded with his presence at his new club.

That’s high praise indeed from Ferdinand, who knows what it takes to make the step up to playing for one of the world’s biggest clubs in a big-money move, having done so when he famously moved from Leeds to Man United back in 2002.

The Rice deal is starting to feel like a modern day equivalent in terms of its significance, and Ferdinand is clearly not at all happy that his old club couldn’t get him.

“Declan Rice, I said it before Man Utd he was the player I would’ve 100% gone and got,” the former defender told Vibe With Five.

You could argue there’s midfielders with more ability than him but I would argue that it’s only Jude Bellingham that comes near him in terms of being able to get into a dressing room and trying to get control of that dressing room and get the respect of that dressing room on day two, three, four, straight away.

“Not only with performances and standards and helping with the culture and the environment but the attitude and the likeability factor, the respect factor that he would get straight away.”


He added: “That’s why I thought he more than anybody it was important that Man United should’ve gone and got and they allowed Arsenal to go and get him.”

Still, for Rice, he will surely feel he made the right choice with Arsenal this summer, with the Gunners very clearly on an upward trajectory under Mikel Arteta, whose side are now top of the table, and six points clear of last season’s treble winners Manchester City.

United, by contrast, still look very much like a work-in-progress, with a title challenge seeming highly unlikely this season, while they’re also facing a real scrap to make it out of their Champions League group.

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