Rio Ferdinand believes Manchester United’s wingers ‘lack imagination’ with Jadon Sancho and Antony not yet showing their top form under Erik ten Hag.

Both players – signed for a combined £158million over the last two summers – started in Sunday’s goalless draw against Newcastle United but frustrated with their performances.

Brazilian wideman Antony has scored three goals since arriving at Old Trafford from Ajax, while Sancho showed a few glimpses of his best form during the early weeks of the season before fading again.

United legend Ferdinand wants both wingers to have more confidence to take on and beat defenders, pointing to Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka as an example.

‘We don’t seem to have the imagination in those areas,’ he told his FIVE YouTube show.

‘We used to give it to Nani, Giggsy [Ryan Giggs], to Becks [David Beckham] even, give it to Antonio Valencia or Cristiano [Ronaldo] when they’re wide.

‘Get him in a one-on-one situation, either with a good ball from [Paul] Scholes or [Michael] Carrick etc, get them one-versus-one and do your thing.

‘At the moment we get in those positions and unfortunately for us, our wide players are turning away from that, they’re not killing full-backs, they’re not skinning them.

‘The best teams, the winners, get teams one-versus-one, they wait for that moment in the game. They might only get two or three moments in a game where they stand that full-back up one-versus-one.

‘Saka does it as well as anyone at the moment in the league. They get the full-back one-versus-one and they say, “right, I’m going to ghost you.”

‘At the moment, our wide players aren’t doing that.

‘Parts of their game are working functionally, other than the City game [6-3 defeat], defensively they’re doing well.

‘But when we have the ball and we want them to do that bit of cherry on the top, that stuff, we aren’t getting that right now.

‘It’s what you need sometimes, to create that space and all of a sudden you’re behind their defence and, all of a sudden, the likes of Marcus Rashford and Cristiano can come alive and get you goals, or Bruno [Fernandes] comes in late.

England and Arsenal star Saka, 21, has impressed during the opening weeks of the season and Ferdinand believes he is a sure starter for his country at the World Cup.

‘In this form, you can’t look past Saka on the right wing spot. I think in an England shirt he does well,’ he said.

‘He’s a winger who, when he gets it, I’ve watched him a couple of times live as well this year, his first instinct and intention is to go past you.

‘We spoke to Nani and he told us that was his intention. As soon as he got the ball one-versus-one, he was looking to beat the full-back.

‘I love that about him, he’s got no fear, he’s playing with a bit more maturity every time I see him.

‘He is in a good vein of form with a club that’s in a good vein of form. He’s confident and if he’s in that mode going into the World Cup I don’t see anyone starting in front of him.’


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