Rio Ferdinand has expressed his dismay at the privileges afforded to young players in the modern game, and claims that teenagers such as Adnan Januzaj would have needed to ‘earn’ their place in the dressing room during the previous generation.
This is not a criticism from Ferdinand about Januzaj in particular but rather an assessment of how times have changed since the former Manchester United defender himself was bidding to become an established member of the West Ham first-team.
Ferdinand had to complete all manner of menial tasks before he was invited by Harry Redknapp to take his place alongside the likes of Julian Dicks, John Moncur and Steve Lomas at Upton Park.
But Januzaj and other Manchester United teens, and those at other clubs across the land, have been immediately given equal status to more experienced colleagues rather then being required to undergo an initiation period.
It is a gripe that clearly wrangles with Ferdinand who believes the cultural shift means players are no longer as ‘tough’ as they once were while he also laments the mentality of youngsters who just ‘want to be rich’.
“Some kids need to keep their feet on the ground, stay humble,” Ferdinand wrote in his autobiography, as serialised by The Sun.
“Growing up I had to sweep floors, clean toilets and earn privileges. Young players today get them automatically.
“For example, first-team changing rooms used to be no-go zones for any young player. You had to really prove yourself before you went in there.
“Nowadays it’s almost nothing.
“Adnan Januzaj was in the United changing room from day one, as it was completely normal.
“It’s not his fault. He didn’t know there used to be all these little staging posts during a long career. You used to have to climb the ladder slowly.”
Man Utd examples
The cases of both Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrision would appear to justify Ferdinand’s objection, with both seemingly having got ideas above their station while on the books at Manchester United.
Pogba was accused by Sir Alex Ferguson of disrespecting the club in his bid to earn a more lucrative contract, and the decision was taken to allow the midfielder to leave for Juventus after the manager gave up on the idea of keeping him.
While Morrison’s was a somewhat more complicated situation given his behaviour away from the club, he is a player hardly renowned for his application and dedication on the training pitch, something that has continued at West Ham.