Rio Ferdinand believes Manchester United’s stars are in a difficult position in regard to fan protests over the Glazers’ ownership of the club.
United’s players witnessed protests outside The Lowry Hotel on Sunday, with the game against Liverpool eventually being postponed after fans gained access to Old Trafford.
Speaking on his Vibe with Five podcast, Ferdinand compared the players’ situation to the position he was in as a player at United when the Glazers bought the club, and he argued that players just want to focus on their football at times like this.
Ferdinand said: “It’s a difficult one – I was there when the Glazers came and, as a player, you’re in a really awkward position as we don’t want to be a part of the business end of the club.
“We’re there just to play football, we don’t want to be caught up in the politics. All the players want to do is go to training, get ready for a match and go out in front of fans around the world and win – that’s all you’re concerned with.
“All this extra stuff, it’s stressful enough just playing and you don’t want all this extra stuff going on – I have to be honest, that’s how you thought.
“When the Glazers came in, we knew all the green and yellow scarves were coming out and we were requested to come out and speak, but you didn’t want to be a political pawn.
“Yes, there’s a right side and a wrong side as well, but you just want to play football and be the best you can be for the club.
“The problem you have as a player is, if you do speak out, what then happens? Do you get sacked, fined or told to leave the club?
“It’s the club you’ve wanted to play at for years and you’ve finally got here, so are you going to jeopardise that?”
Ferdinand does believe some senior players will want to speak out but believes the situation is different to the Super League.
He said: “I can feel someone like Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire or Paul Pogba will want to speak in their heart of hearts but, at the same time, it’s a tug of war, so it’s very difficult.
“This situation is slightly different as it’s more about football than just one club and the Super League was going to destabilise the whole pyramid and football in our country, so it’s a different situation and players put things out here and there.
“Sunday, I think the guys would have been sat in the hotel thinking ‘make the protest, we’re happy for you to do that, but please let us play’, that’s how the players would be thinking.”