Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand says he is worried about Antony’s lack of pace after witnessing his performance against Arsenal at the weekend.
The Brazilian made the £86m switch to Old Trafford in late August, and he has impressed with some stand-out goals, but Ferdinand has raised concerns about the winger’s inability to beat opposing defenders:
“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 [Oleksandr] 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’. 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 beat defenders].”
Anyone who watched Antony play for Ajax will know that the forward is not the quickest player in the world so Ferdinand clearly didn’t see a lot of him before he arrived at Old Trafford.
There is no doubt that United overpaid for the 22-year-old, but it was a signing that manager Erik ten Hag had prioritised, so it’s best to trust the Dutchman’s judgement for now.
Antony’s record this season is by no means bad. Five goals in 19 appearances is a decent return but fans will be hoping to see the Brazilian international put in some better displays in the coming weeks and months.