RIO FERDINAND has slammed Manchester United for letting go of five unsung heroes who were “the lifeblood” of the club following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
Fergie retired a decade ago after guiding the Red Devils to their 13th Premier League title – something they have not since achieved.
United legend Ferdinand played a key role in that triumph as a centre-back and was hoping for a similar success replacing legendary Scot David Moyes.
This didn’t last long, however, as Moyes was sacked after just ten months as the Red Devils ended the season without a trophy.
Louis van Gaal eventually replaced him at the end of the season, however Ferdinand left Old Trafford for QPR in the summer of 2014.
He was later followed out the exit door by Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez, Jonny Evans and Brazilian twins Rafael and Fabio Da Silva.
Now Ferdinand has revealed he feels it was a huge mistake to let the four academy graduates go along with Mexico striker Hernandez.
He told his YouTube channel mood at five: “They were the lifeblood of Manchester United, they all went through the system, all the Man United guys and that too was lost.”
“That was part of what the club was built on before. The people who would go through the academy were an integral part of everything Man United stood for.
“And they got rid of those players willy-nilly, I couldn’t believe the club even let that happen.
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“What they did at Man United they could have done for the rest of their careers.”
Rivals Arsenal bought England international Welbeck, now at Brighton, for £16million in 2014 after scoring 29 goals in 142 games for United.
Hernandez, now with MLS club LA Galaxy, was first loaned to Real Madrid that same year.
He was then sold to Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen for £12million and later played for West Ham and Sevilla before moving to the United States.
The Da Silva brothers were also lashed out by United, with Rafael joining Lyon and Fabio joining Cardiff City.
But it was the decision to let defender Evans join West Brom in 2015 that confused Ferdinand the most.
And he insists the Northern Ireland star, who has just suffered relegation with Leicester, should have stayed at the club as a regular instead of Chris Smalling.
He added: “He [Evans] should never have left the club.
“He was the club’s best centre-back when we all left.
“Smalling has had a great career, don’t get me wrong, but Jonny Evans is 100 percent a better player.”