Rio Ferdinand has singled out two Manchester United stars who caught his eye in the Red Devils’ 1-1 draw with Young Boys.
With the Premier League powerhouse securing a top-place finish in Champions League Group F with a game to spare, interim manager Ralf Rangnick made a host of changes to his starting line-up on Wednesday.
The German tactician made 11 modifications to a starting XI that faced Crystal Palace at the weekend, opting for a mix of up-and-coming youngsters and fringe first-team players.
After spending the past few weeks on the bench, Mason Greenwood recorded his first start under Rangnick, repaying the gaffer’s trust with a brilliant first-half opener.
Although an understrength Red Devils side largely struggled to cope with Young Boys’ best XI in terms of possession, Greenwood was a breath of fresh air up top.
In addition to his mesmerising ninth-minute bicycle kick, the 20-year-old was nothing short of impressive with the ball at his feet, often dropping middle of the park to help his side build from the back.
After an utterly stunning start to the season, Greenwood lost his footing down the final stretch of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign, falling out of favour on the back of Jadon Sancho’s return to form.
However, the prodigious English forward looked like he rediscovered his groove against Young Boys, as Ferdinand believes he has earned a place in Rangnick’s first-team selection.
“I don’t think anyone other than Mason [Greenwood] gave Ralf [Rangnick] something to think about,” he told BT Sport as relayed by the Metro.
Former United deep-lying midfielder Owen Hargreaves joined Ferdinand in praising the homegrown Old Trafford star.
“Mason Greenwood is probably the one player in this starting XI who can play in the Premier League side,” he said.
“Every time he plays, he is looking forward. It was a beautiful goal, a brilliant finish.”
Another player who caught Ferdinand’s attention on Wednesday was Luke Shaw.
The attacking-minded left-back returned to the fold after overcoming head trauma and went on to deliver a delightful assist to Greenwood for United’s solitary strike.
Shaw surrendered his berth in the starting line-up to Alex Telles in the last two matches in all competitions, but it feels like the Brazilian failed to fill the Englishman’s boots.
Ferdinand insists the 26-year-old did enough to reclaim his place in Rangnick’s Premier League starting XI.
“I would put Luke Shaw in that too,” he said. “I think him [Greenwood] and Shaw are the players that stand out, the ones that have a chance of playing in the Premier League.”
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