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‘Antony can’t beat anyone!’ - Man Utd winger slammed by Ferdinand amid struggles to justify £85m price tag

11:55 AM WAT 23/01/2023
Antony Manchester United 2022-23
Manchester United ace Antony has seen a supposed lack of creativity and pace slammed by Rio Ferdinand, with the Brazilian told he “can’t beat anyone”.
  • Brazilian joined in 2022 from Ajax
  • Has only five goals to his name
  • Questions asked of contribution

WHAT HAPPENED? The South American winger was acquired by the Red Devils in an £85 million ($105m) deal with Ajax last summer. He made a record-setting start to life at Old Trafford before his form tailed off badly, and he has just five goals and no assists to his name in 19 appearances. His struggles continued during United's 3-2 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday - a performance which attracted the ire of a former club legend.

WHAT THEY SAID: Former United defender Ferdinand told his Vibe with Five YouTube channel after seeing the big-money asset fail to impress at Emirates Stadium: “The concerning thing for me with somebody like Antony is that he can’t beat anyone – and for a Brazilian that’s surprising! He just doesn’t beat anyone and I’m sitting there thinking, ‘Was that always the way?’ I’ve seen clips of him when he was at Ajax and he was somebody who used to beat people.

I saw [Thomas] Partey – who I wouldn’t put down as like a roaster, a sprinter – absolutely burst past him, and I’m thinking, ‘Woah, he [Antony] hasn’t got much power in them legs!’ So, yeah, he’s a tricky winger, but tricky wingers you want them to still be able to beat the defender. Even Zinchenko, he’s a great player, great footballer, but defensively you get him one-v-one and you’re a wide-man, you should feel, ‘I can get hold of this guy and I can deal with him’.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ferdinand went on to say, as he compared Antony’s impact at present to that previously made by some iconic wingers from United’s past: “You want a winger to be going past full-backs without any hesitation at all and with Antony, as much quality as he has on the ball and his technique and stuff like that, [he doesn’t get past players]. When I played with Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs, Antonio Valencia, even Ji-Sung Park would get past the full-back. Not just by going past them but he’d play it and run and get the other side of them. I want to see that from Antony. Listen, its his first season so you’re going to have to give him a bit of time, doesn’t matter how big the price tag is, but I need to see more glimpses of that.”

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? Antony is still adjusting to life in the Premier League, but United would have expected that process to be almost complete by now, given that he has been at Old Trafford for several months. The Red Devils will need more from him in the final third if they are to bring a six-year wait for major silverware to a close in 2023.