'Pogba is not the new Keano, far from it': Rio Ferdinand gives emphatic response to comparison between French star and Roy Keane
Rio Ferdinand believes Manchester United fans may only fully appreciate the efforts of club captain Wayne Rooney when his enduring stay at Old Trafford comes to an end, as he spoke exclusively to Independent.ie.
Ferdinand was part of five Premier League title winning sides alongside Rooney at United, yet sections of the Old Trafford faithful struggle to acclaim the striker who has twice come close to leaving the club since his arrival back in 2004.
With Rooney needing just five goals in the upcoming season to break Bobby Charlton’s all-time United scoring record, the England skipper could expect to be acclaimed as a living legend among the club’s fans and yet Ferdinand accepts animosity lingers following aborted attempts to leave the club amid transfer interest from local rivals Manchester City in 2010 and Chelsea three years later.
“There have been a couple of unsavoury moments that people struggle to forget with Wayne,” BT Sport pundit Ferdinand told us.
“That may be why a few United fans are quick to get on his back at times, but he is a United great and everyone agrees with that.
“The testimonial match he was awarded last week was well deserved for a player who has given a lot to Man Utd, but it may be that he is only fully appreciated when he has retired and his achievements are recognised.
“I’m sure he will break Bobby Charlton’s scoring record in the next few months and that will be an incredible achievement, with the trophies he has won in his time at United a testament to everything he has meant to the club.”
Ferdinand went on to back Rooney to thrive in the more advanced position he will be asked to play under new United boss Jose Mourinho, after the striker revealed earlier this year that his days in an advanced attacking position were over at the back end of his career.
“Mourinho wants him to play in a more advanced position this season and that is where he prefers to play,” states Ferdinand.
“Wayne has always been a guy who is at his best in and around the penalty area and while he did his best to adapt to the midfield role he was playing for United and England, I’d like to see him supporting the main striker again this season and that seems to be where he will play.
“I think he can still play up there. He will be behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic this season and that will help him. Zlatan is a big character and he will take defenders with him, which will create space for Wayne and the other United strikers.
“Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial can benefit from having Zlatan around as well because you can only learn from guys like that.”
Meanwhile, Ferdinand has backed €100m world record buy Paul Pogba to make his mark as he starts his second spell at United following his return from Juventus, but he was quick to dismiss suggestions that he would emerge as a midfield talisman to compare to Old Trafford great Roy Keane.
“Pogba is not the new Keano, far from it,” he added. “Pogba is a very different kind of personality when you compare him to Roy, but we can all see the talent he has got and that is why United are trying to get him back now.
“Roy was a driving force for our team, he was in your face and he demanded high standards of everyone around him. That’s what made him such a great winner and a true champion for United. There will never be another Roy Keane. He was a one-off for a variety of reasons.
“Pogba is not like that. I was at United when Pogba was there first time around and he is a kid who will need to be handled correctly.
“He is a bit of an extrovert off the field and doesn’t always do things in a conventional fashion, but there is nothing wrong with that if he is producing the goods on the pitch.
“It doesn’t matter what anyone says about the fee that Juventus are getting for Paul Pogba because that is the going rate and the money Man Utd bring in from a variety of sources means they can justify this kind of transfer.
“You are investing in massive potential. This guy could be the best midfielder in world football for the next ten years and if he spends those years at United, then it would be a good investment.”
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