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Rio Ferdinand names what Manchester United XI should face Brentford, including a surprise midfield addition

Dylan Penketh

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Rio Ferdinand names what Manchester United XI should face Brentford, including a surprise midfield addition

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE

Rio Ferdinand has named which Manchester United XI should start against Brentford on Saturday evening.

Manchester United started their Premier League campaign for the 2022/23 season against Brighton & Hove Albion last Sunday, and it was a disaster.

From conceding two goals in the first half to the Red Devils only being able to score through an own goal, Erik ten Hag’s men played a disappointing game.

Despite the positive news of competitive debuts for Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen from the start combined with an appearance off the bench from Tyrell Malacia, a large and familiar grey cloud is descending upon Old Trafford.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag during Sunday's defeat to Brighton. (Alamy)
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag during Sunday's defeat to Brighton. (Alamy)

Manchester United started the fixture with a front three of Marcus Rashford, Christian Eriksen and Jadon Sancho, with Bruno Fernandes supporting, followed by the familiar pairing of Fred and Scott McTominay in midfield.

The defensive line consisted of Diogo Dalot, Harry Maguire, Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw, with David de Gea the man in goal.

Speaking on the latest episode of Vibe with Five, Rio Ferdinand has suggested some changes that should be made to this XI for the weekend’s fixture.

“I’d start (Cristiano) Ronaldo upfront,” Ferdinand began.

“I’d start Rashford on the left, Sancho on the right, or vice-versa.”

Cristiano Ronaldo against Brighton. (Man Utd)
Cristiano Ronaldo against Brighton. (Man Utd)

Moving on to the midfield, the ex-United defender said: “I’d play Eriksen, Bruno (Fernandes) and Martinez as the holding midfielder – take Fred out.

“I’m going to play Dalot, (Raphael) Varane, Maguire and Shaw at left-back,” he concluded. “De Gea in goal.”

Although only two changes have been made from the XI that took on Brighton, the tactical differences of having Eriksen deeper in midfield and Martinez playing just behind him could give United an entirely new look.

When the Dane moved to a deeper role against the Seagulls, the difference in United’s ability to progress the ball forwards and fire better shots into the front line was clear to see.

This was even pointed out by Diogo Dalot, who said after the fixture: “As soon as we saw Eriksen was going to have a lot of time on the ball freely, that’s when everything started to be more dynamic up front.”

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“Whatever happens, Man United are going to improve from the first day,” Ferdinand insisted after naming his preferred XI. “Things can only get better.”

Manchester United are due to take on Brentford at the Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday evening, with the fixture kicking off at 17:30 BST.

Erik ten Hag will be looking to getting his side back to winning ways after the club’s loss to Brighton as he aims to finish this season inside the Champions League places.

Topics: Manchester United, Rio Ferdinand, Erik Ten Hag, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lisandro Martinez, Fred, Raphael Varane

Dylan Penketh
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