Rio Ferdinand makes surprising claim about Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Man United

Rio Ferdinand claims that Zlatan Ibrahimovic's absence could help some of Manchester United's younger players

zlatan ibrahimovic
Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic Photo: Adidas

Rio Ferdinand has suggested that Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s absence from the Manchester United team could allow the Red Devils’ younger players to “flourish”.

The Swedish striker suffered what is thought to be a season-ending knee injury after landing awkwardly during Manchester United’s win over Anderlecht last week.

Ibrahimovic has been ever-present in the Manchester United first team this season and has scored 28 goals in all competitions for Jose Mourinho’s men.

However, the 35-year-old is likely to missing for the rest of the campaign as Jose Mourinho is forced to turn to the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Wayne Rooney.

And former Manchester United defender Ferdinand feels that Ibrahimovic’s absence will seem like a weight has been lifted from some of the Red Devils’ players.

Speaking on BT Sport’s Premier League Tonight show, Ferdinand said: “What we’ve seen when he hasn’t played is that the younger players seem like they can breathe a bit easier.

“It seems like they flourish a little bit on the pitch without him. That’s no fault of his own, it’s just that his personality probably weighs people down because he is demanding and a huge character.

“When he’s not on the pitch it may free up the younger players to perform better.

“They looked like different players so it may work in Manchester United’s favour in that respect.”

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Manchester United are currently preparing for their crunch Premier League clash against rivals Manchester City at The Etihad on Thursday night.

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