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Defender let go by Moyes: 'I followed Rio Ferdinand every match...'

Former Everton player Shkodran Mustafi has admitted his admiration for the Manchester United defender.

Shkodran Mustafi never quite lived up to his potential at Everton.

The centre-back arrived on Merseyside with great promise in the summer of 2009 and made his senior debut in December of the same year.

Little did Mustafi know that his 14-minute cameo against BATE Borisov in the Europa League would be both his first and last first team appearance at Everton, however.

David Moyes allowed him to leave for Sampdoria on a free transfer in January 2012, seeing no future for the youngster at Goodison Park.

But while Mustafi was sitting on the bench for the Toffees, he was taking inspiration from Manchester United.

More specifically, from Rio Ferdinand - now under Moyes’ leadership at Old Trafford.

Mustafi told WhoScored: “Yes, I really, really admired Rio Ferdinand, and do to this day.

“I followed him every match when I was in England and he is the type of defender that I like.

“Good defensively, but very good on the ball, and also very skillful.”

And Mustafi, 21, seems to have learned well from a distance.

He has gone on to become a full Germany international during his time at Sampdoria, where his name is one of the first on the team sheet.

The irony for now-United boss Moyes is that an ageing Ferdinand is likely to leave this summer alongside Nemanja Vidic - the Scot needing to overhaul his back line.

Perhaps Moyes wishes he could have a second chance with Mustafi? But in truth the defender seems to have found his place at Marassi.

“In England I had the same manager for three years and yes, here I have had four managers in less than two years,” he added.

“Every manager has a different approach but, not merely because he is the current manager, under [Sampdoria head coach Sinisa] Mihajlovic there is a very good feeling.

“At Sampdoria, I am not the only young player, there are many interesting youngsters so, for the next season, we have to improve together, as single players but especially as a team.”

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