Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has criticised Jose Mourinho for not giving Henrikh Mkhitaryan a chance to impress at Old Trafford.
The Armenian, who signed for Man United back in July for a fee of £26.3m, has only made one start under Mourinho – against Manchester City on September 10.
Mkhitaryan hasn’t played a single minute since then, despite being deemed “100% fit” by Mourinho prior to United’s 4-1 win over Fenerbahce two weeks ago.
Ferdinand, like many United fans, has expressed his bemusement at Mourinho’s refusal to give the 27-year-old game time.
“I don’t know what’s happened to Mkhitaryan,” he said.
“Does anyone know where he is? By all accounts he is fit and training well but you don’t see him in a Manchester United shirt.
“They paid Borussia Dortmund £26million to get him in the summer and for that money, I would actually like to see him play football!”
Up until the Burnley game, I could understand Mourinho’s reservations over throwing Mkhitaryan into the fray. He was only labelled as fully fit prior to the Fenerbahce game, and using him at Stamford Bridge or against Man City – two fast-paced, pressurised encounters – could have further dented his already depleted confidence.
The game against Sean Dyche’s side, however, looked like the perfect opportunity for Mkhitaryan to impose himself on Mourinho’s first team. Burnley were only going to do one thing: sit back, remain compact and look to pinch a goal on the counter. The stage was set for Mkhitaryan to take control of the encounter, supplying defence-splitting passes with reckless abandon until Burnley’s shape eventually collapsed.
As it was, he was nowhere to be seen, despite being exactly what United needed. Supporters will hope that this spell of inexplicable anonymity ends against Fenerbahce on Thursday night.