Van de Beek played the full 90 minutes in United's 1-0 FA Cup win over Watford, but amid his struggles for Premier League action, Ferdinand thinks that the Dutchman would have expected more minutes under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Speaking to BT Sport, Ferdinand said: "I'm really surprised he's not played more minutes. I'm 100% certain that he expected to play more.
"The interesting point with the whole van de Beek situation is, what was the conversation in negotiations coming here? When you negotiate a contract to go somewhere, you come into the football club knowing where you are, if you're going to start, or are they going to have to work their way into the team.
"That's the important part and we don't know the answer yet. I'm sure from the soundings that his agent has been given off, he expected to be playing games and be a major part of this team. It hasn't materialised so far, and he's got a Euros to worry about if that goes ahead."
Having started just two top-flight matches this term, Van de Beek is said to be unhappy at Old Trafford, although Solskjaer has affirmed that the Netherlands international is rated highly at the club.