ANTON Ferdinand has taken a thinly-veiled dig at former club West Ham by insisting they should never have sold George McCartney to Sunderland.

Full-back McCartney returned to Wearside before the transfer deadline on Monday after a two-year spell with the Irons.

Although he was arguably the Hammers most consistent outfield performer during that time, the club allowed the 27-year-old to join the Black Cats after he slapped in a transgfer request.

That came just days after Ferdinand was given permission to uproot from the East End to the north-east of England.

The pair followed Bobby Zamora, John Paintsil, Freddie Ljungberg, Richard Wright and Nobby Solano out of Upton Park this summer and Ferdinand hinted that the Hammers seem to have returned to its status as a selling club.

"To be honest, I was surprised when West Ham let George go," said the former England under-21 star.

"He’s a very consistent player and he played every game last year for West Ham.

"It was very rare for him to have been below par. He was at least a seven out of ten in pretty much every game he played. He’s one of the most consistent players I’ve ever played with, and that’s why I was surprised West Ham let him go.

"But that’s what’s happening down there at the moment so let’s just leave it at that."

However, Ferdinand said he is delighted that his new club have snapped up the Northern Ireland international, and admits he can't wait to get back out on the pitch with his team mate.

"George is a great signing," he added. "I know he loves it up here so much, so this is probably going to be like coming home for him.

"I’m sure it’ll put another spring in his step, and I’m looking forward to playing with him again."