Ferdinand, in his punditry debut on BT Sport for England U21s' Euro qualifier against Finland, said that the West Ham United midfielder had all the ability in the world when at United but simply struggled away from the pitch which did not allow him to flourish at Old Trafford.
"He's doing a fantastic job of trying to grow and mature into a top-level player," he said during the telecast.
"It's been well documented his issues off the pitch. But he has improved dramatically over the past year.
"He's showing the brilliance which you knew he had. He can play one-touch stuff as good as anyone I have seen. He can terrorise defenders.
"I would pay to watch him train let alone play in a match.
"My old manager (Sir Alex Ferguson) said 'have a look at this boy'. He was taking the mick out of everyone on the pitch when he was 14.
"The manager thought he was the best player he had seen at that age."
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