Five Man Utd outcasts who impressed Ferdinand – from Jesse Lingard to "two rats"

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand said recently departed Jesse Lingard and iconic Red Devil twins Rafael and Fabio da Silva, were the three young players who impressed him most during his many pre-seasons at the club.

Having spent 12 very successful seasons at Old Trafford, Ferdinand certainly watched his fair share of young academy stars try their luck at capturing the manager’s attention during the pre-season tours. The former England captain travelled the world with United in those preceding weeks before the Premier League commences.

And one of those was Lingard, who could be set to join Nottingham Forest on a free transfer, after departing Old Trafford on a free transfer. But while the attacking midfielder’s exit may still be relatively disappointing to United fans and ex-players, Ferdinand immediately named the 29-year-old when asked which young players stood out the most.

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“I think Jesse Lingard when Moyes came,” Ferdinand said on the ‘Vibe with Five’ podcast. “He came on tour with us and I thought ‘ooh, Jesse’s definitely going to get some time here and play’.

“It didn’t actually materialise properly for him, but I thought Jesse was outstanding in pre-season. Yes, he was fitter than everybody else at the time, because he was a young kid, but he had that something about him.”

While Lingard did not quite break into the United first team under Moyes, he became an important player in Louis van Gaal’s second season in charge, scoring the winning goal in the 2016 FA Cup Final. However, he was not the only young player to catch Ferdinand’s eye in the pre-season.

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“[Wilfried] Zaha did really well in pre-season when he signed from Palace as a young kid,” Ferdinand added. “You know who also did really well? The da Silva twins. They were really good.

“They were hard little rats, I used to call them the two rats, because they were aggressive, they wanted to learn, they wanted to win every day, you had to tug the reins on them and say ‘listen, calm it down a little bit,’ they loved it.

“Them two were my favourite two in that sense, they were hungry little rats, and they were the ones, as senior players, you would look at them and go ‘you know what, come alongside me, I like that’. Adnan Januzaj was another one who did really well, showed glimpses. Moyes went fully in with him and he was the one who got a first team opportunity off the back of a really good pre-season.”

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