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Van Gaal: Rio Ferdinand left United at the right time

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Manchester United's manager Louis Van Gaal

Manchester United's manager Louis Van Gaal

PA

Manchester United's manager Louis Van Gaal

Louis van Gaal thinks Manchester United should have no regrets about releasing Rio Ferdinand earlier this summer.

QPR defender Ferdinand will return to Old Trafford on Sunday for the first time since he was released by United in May.

Having also allowed Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra to leave the club, United have been left with a huge lack of experience in defence as a result.

Van Gaal was not in charge when the club decided against renewing Ferdinand's contract, but had he been at the helm, he would have gone down the same route.

When asked whether United should have kept Ferdinand, who spent 12 years at Old Trafford, Van Gaal said: "No. There is a time to stay and a time to go and Rio decided to go.

"He was a great player, maybe he is still a great player but there is always a time for a player to go from a club."

Ferdinand signed a one-year contract with QPR in July.

During his time at United, the centre-back won six Premier League titles, two League Cups and the Champions League.

or his part, Ferdinand considers the culture of United bringing through their own talent is changing.

With Van Gaal's arrival being followed by an influx of bought-in talent, Ferdinand, who was a £29.1million buy from Leeds when he arrived at Old Trafford, suspects United supporters will need to get used to a change of tack from the Red Devils.

Ferdinand said in a BBC Football Focus interview: "I just think the real, traditional Man United fans who are real followers of the club, took real pride and pleasure in the club producing home-grown players and fielding home-grown players, and that was a big part of it, back to the old times, when you had the Busby Babes coming through, etcetera, and Fergie's group of players that came through.

"The club, the fans, took great pleasure and pride in promoting that.

"It seems that with (Tom) Cleverley going out on loan and (Danny) Welbeck going out permanently, that might be a changing in the order.

"But then you look at the players that are playing now: Tyler Blackett's getting games, Jesse (Lingard) was getting games before he got injured, I'm sure (James) Wilson will get a few games this season even though there has been quite an influx of huge talent up front.

"But the real genuine fans who took pride in looking at other clubs, and seeing them spending and splash cash, they can't use that to beat anyone with anymore."

PA Media