Ferdinand, who won 81 caps during a glittering England career, has had his say on the current Three Lions players, with Gareth Southgate naming his 26-man squad on Thursday for Qatar 2022 world cup.
Ferdinand believes that Maguire does not deserve a place in the England squad for the Qatar 2022 World Cup going by his lack of playing time for Manchester United this season.
Ferdinand believes the biggest case for concern is Harry Maguire’s lack of form and game time which has left England facing a “worst case scenario” at the back. Former England defender Ferdinand believes any of the centre halves from his generation would walk into Gareth Southgate’s starting XI for Qatar 2022.
They were blessed with the likes of Sol Campbell, John Terry, Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate while the current team are beset with injuries and no settled defence. Ferdinand, who won 81 caps during a glittering England career, said: “I’ve always thought if you’re going to win a tournament, you’ve got to have a good defence.
“Italy had experience, solid defenders to win the Euros. You can go down the years and you can see that. That’s where we’re probably at our weakest now. Even if there weren’t injuries or lack of form, I feel like that was our weakest area anyway.
“Kyle Walker, our quickest defender, has been out. Maguire, form and injuries. When you’re looking at it, you’re thinking ‘What are we going to do?’ Harry hasn’t let England down ever. He’s been phenomenal for England. But his form has gone out the window for Man Utd. He’s not in the team, he’s got an injury as well.
“Going into a tournament, I couldn’t think of another worst-case scenario. I would be concerned about that. But to be fair to him, Harry hasn’t let Gareth down. So as a manager you’re going to go with what you know, with what you’re comfortable with. But he trusts him. It could be blind trust, I don’t know. But he does trust him.
“The problem he’s got is it’s not like he’s not sitting there where he has four or five other candidates like in my generation where you’d be able to go, ‘He’s out of form’ or ‘he’s not playing’ or ‘he’s injured.’
“I had Sol Campbell, Jamie Carragher, Jonathan Woodgate, Ledley King, the list goes on. All of those players start today. There’s no one in there now that you go: ’They jump out as the No1 candidates to go and play.’ So it’s very difficult. I think that could in the end be our Achilles heel. Is Trevoh Chalobah going to be ready? He’s playing really well. But last month it was Fikayo Tomori. Before that it was Marc Guehi. It’s a real worry.”
Ferdinand also warns that, while Reece James and Kyle Walker deserve to be first choice players, it would be dangerous to take a fitness gamble on too many half-fit players.
“I think you can go in there with one, maybe, like that,” said Ferdinand. “But we’ve got Reece James, Kyle Walker, Maguire, in the defensive line who are potentially going to be going in there off the back of some injuries and a lack of form. That’s a lot of players to be doing that with.”
Ferdinand believes the England teams he played in arguably had more individual talent but the current squad’s greatest strength is their togetherness. However, Ferdinand admits to finding the “Golden Generation” tag wrong when you consider the teams they faced in previous World Cups.
Ferdinand added: “It’s weird everyone says we were the golden generation and we should have won but you look at the teams we were up against, like Brazil’s team, they probably had better players than us.
“If you look at their top five players against ours, they had Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cafu, Roberto Carlos. Kaka was sub. We had world class players then. But was Scholesy going to be much better than their players? Was Michael Owen going to be much better than Ronaldo? Was Becks going to be much better than Cafu or Roberto Carlos? They were a formidable team.
“I think the current team’s greatest strength is their togetherness. Definitely if you compare it to our generation. There’s a real togetherness with this squad and he’s helped create that culture with England where it’s very much club orientated.
“It’s more aligned to a club that going away with an international team for the odd week here or there. They all seem to really enjoy being in each other’s company and being around each other – which is probably the opposite of what we were like!”