Rio Ferdinand says it will be a contest between Manchester United and Manchester City’s players to tap up Harry Kane and Declan Rice at the Euros this summer.
Both Kane and Rice have been heavily linked with United, while the England striker is also understood to be high on Pep Guardiola’s list to replace Sergio Aguero.
The pair look like starters for England against Croatia and will be spending large amounts of times with players from Old Trafford and The Etihad.
The United contingent includes Harry Maguire, Marcus Rashford Luke Shaw and Dean Henderson. City meanwhile have Phil Foden, John Stones, Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling all vying for starts under Gareth Southgate.
And Ferdinand is well aware of “players talking to players” in camp at St George’s park over the next month.
In fact, it’s something the former United man experienced himself at the 2002 World Cup. Ferdinand was at Leeds when he went to the tournament in Japan and Korea. But when he returned he wasted not time in signing for Man Utd after being approached by both Nicky Butt and David Beckham.
“Yeah that happens,” Ferdinand told the Daily Mirror, when asked if players will talk to Kane about a transfer.
“That happened when I went to the World Cup with Nicky Butt, Becks in the United team. Talked about me coming to United. That was speculation in the paper. That happens, every tournament, every get together.
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“Players talking to players. I’m sure managers have said ‘speak to him for me and find out what he’s like’.
“Butt just said to me ‘would you come United?’. And I said ‘yeah I would. I want to win trophies’.
“That probably filtered back to the manager, they know if they want to make a bid or not. That’s how it works.
“All players are like fans. If you were in a squad with a player who you think is brilliant and you want him to come to your club you’d be saying ‘come on, mate. Come to us. Get on to your club and your agent and try to manoeuvre a move to get to us’.
“We are just and extension of the fans.
Kane can focus on England
“And what happens is players will go back and report to their coaches – ‘by the way the best player was so and so’.
“That filters back to all the clubs and the managers become more aware and what’s going on.”
Kane has given a big hint he is looking to move on this summer in a bid to win trophies.
Asked if the speculation would distract Kane, Ferdinand added: “No. I think you look back at someone like Alan Shearer who went in to Euro 96 surrounded by speculation about moving.
“It didn’t happen before and he was top scorer at the tournament. I think players can do it, they’re used to hype, they’re used to the speculation. It’s normal.”