Manchester United hero Rio Ferdinand admits he was pleased to see the back of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez at Old Trafford.
The two forwards both recently sealed moves to Inter Milan, with Lukaku joining permanently and Sanchez on loan, leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer alarmingly short of options up top.
However, Ferdinand believes the departures represent a statement of intent from the Red Devils boss, who is beginning to stamp his authority on the squad.
“It’s got thinner and that could be a concern,” Ferdinand told talkSPORT.
“I’m quite pleased on one hand because I’m starting to see what Ole wants the makeup of this squad to be and he’s starting to shape it the way he wants.
“I remember an interview he did at the end of last season, he said he wants this team to be the fittest team, to work hard and want to be here.
“He’s setting the tone and that’s a vital part of any football club.
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“There has to be a method, a philosophy and an ideology of what you want it to be. If people don’t fit it – goodbye! I’m happy with that.
“For far too long at Man United, some people thought they were doing the club a favour by being there. He wants to change that dynamic and he’s doing that by making big decisions.
“There’s going to be uneasiness in that squad now. Big players thrive under those conditions.”
Much now rests on the shoulders of 17-year-old striker Mason Greenwood, especially given the recent injury to Anthony Martial.
The academy star is on the bench for the lunchtime clash against Southampton – live on talkSPORT – and Ferdinand believes Greenwood can inspire other youngsters to thrive at Old Trafford.
He added: “I watched the youth team play last season and every time I put the TV on, he scored.
“There’s no doubting the kid’s got huge talent. What I love about it is that Ole is being true to his word, he’s going to give young kids a chance, this is a great signal to the young kids in the academy. If you’re good enough, you’ll get an opportunity.
“Greenwood could be the talisman for the next generation of young players coming through. But with Sanchez and Lukaku leaving, it leaves you lightweight up front.
“There’s a huge responsibility but Ole is putting pressure on his young players. He’s saying, ‘Can you handle it? Can you deal with this? Do you want to deal with it? Have you got the personality for it? Are you robust enough?’
“Now we’ll get answers.”
Listen back to talkSPORT’s exclusive interview with Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand IN FULL above
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