Cristiano Ronaldo in, Fred out - Rio Ferdinand names his Man Utd XI to face Brentford

  • Rob Swan
Rio Ferdinand names his Man Utd starting XI vs Brentford following 2-1 loss to Brighton

Rio Ferdinand has named the Manchester United starting XI he would pick for the club’s upcoming Premier League fixture against Brentford.

The Red Devils began their 2022-23 campaign with a hugely disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Brighton on Sunday.

Erik ten Hag, taking charge of United in a competitive fixture for the first time, watched as his side conceded two Pascal Gross goals during the first half.

An own goal from Alexis Mac Allister in the 68th minute provided United with hope of rescuing a point, but Ten Hag’s men were unable to find the equaliser and subsequently sit 13th in the Premier League table following the opening round of matches.

A second successive defeat away at Brentford would obviously be a disastrous start to the new season for United and their recently-appointed manager.

Erik ten Hag
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – AUGUST 07: Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag looks on during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford on August 07, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Ten Hag will be acutely aware that his team, who face Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in their third fixture, can ill-afford to lose this weekend’s match at Brentford’s stadium.

Rio Ferdinand names his Man Utd team to face Brentford

United legend Ferdinand would change Ten Hag’s starting line-up for Saturday’s game against the Bees.

Speaking on the latest episode of Vibe with Five, Ferdinand would start Cristiano Ronaldo, despite reports that the Portuguese superstar wants to leave Old Trafford before the transfer window closes.

Ferdinand would also drop United’s much-maligned central midfield pairing of Fred and Scott McTominay.

And the former world-class defender would move summer signing Lisandro Martinez away from centre-back to a new position.

Lisandro Martinez
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – AUGUST 07: Lisandro Martinez of Manchester United looks onduring the Premier League match between Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford on August 07, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

“I’d start Ronaldo upfront,” Ferdinand began. “I’d start [Marcus] Rashford on the left, [Jadon] Sancho on the right, or vice-versa.

“I’d play [Christian] Eriksen, Bruno [Fernandes] and Martinez as the holding midfielder – take Fred out.

“I’m going to play [Diogo] Dalot, [Raphael] Varane, [Harry] Maguire and [Luke] Shaw at left-back. [David] De Gea in goal.”

Rio Ferdinand’s Man Utd XI to face Brentford

Here’s Rio’s team on paper:

Rio's Man Utd XI to face Brentford

Martinez as the team’s holding midfielder is an interesting shout. Much has been made of the fact the Argentina international, who cost the Red Devils an initial £46 million, is 5ft 9in tall – which is on the diminutive side for a centre-back.

Would the former Ajax star flourish in English football as a holding midfielder?

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

If you say so, Rio.

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