Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Rio Ferdinand names surprise Man Utd trio on Man City’s level, but two set to leave this summer

Man Utd legend Rio Ferdinand

Two of United's three best players against Man City are expected to leave the club at season's end

Rio Ferdinand named three Manchester United players who stood out in the derby defeat to Manchester City, though two of the trio are in line to leave at season’s end.

The Red Devils produced a spirited display at the Etihad, though ultimately fell to a 3-1 defeat. Erik ten Hag set his side up to soak up pressure and punish Man City on the counter. The plan worked in dramatic fashion after just eight minutes when Marcus Rashford rifled home from distance to cap off a fast break.

Rashford had further chances to extend the lead in the first half, though his touch deserted him on each occasion.

Instead, it was largely left to Man Utd’s rearguard to repel wave after wave of attack from Man City and the pressure eventually told in the second half.

Nonetheless, when speaking on his YouTube channel post-match, pundit and United legend, Rio Ferdinand, highlighted the two starting centre-backs and goalkeeper as United’s stand-out stars on the day.

Ferdinand said: “Jonny Evans’ performance, Varane’s performance, Onana’s performance, those three, even though we still conceded three goals today, the two centre-backs and the goalkeeper, I thought for large parts, were our best players.”

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Onana excelled with both his hands and feet, with his distribution key to releasing the pressure in the first half especially.

There is a suggestion Onana could’ve done better to prevent Phil Foden’s second goal. The stopper did get a hand to the low strike, though all in all it was a wholly encouraging display for a player who has endured mixed fortunes thus far at Old Trafford.

Evans and Varane, meanwhile, may both be in their final season at Old Trafford.

Changes at centre-back coming

Both defenders are out of contract in the summer and Man Utd are understood to be in the market for a new right-footed centre-back to become the long-term partner for Lisandro Martinez.

Evans, 36, signed a one-year deal with United after impressing while on trial in pre-season. Varane has largely struggled to replicate the dominant form he showed at former club Real Madrid and is a target for Saudi Arabian sides.

United opted against triggering the one-year option in Varane’s deal at the turn of the year. The Frenchman, 30, earns roughly £340,000-a-week at United and activating the option would’ve kept him on that same sky high salary.

Reports have claimed United could attempt to negotiate a fresh contract with Varane on greatly reduced terms.

That is the approach Man Utd took with David de Gea one year ago, though the end result saw the club legend ultimately leave as a free agent.

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