Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has leapt to the defence of under-fire goalie David de Gea, and believes the Spaniard is still a top-class goalkeeper.
The Spaniard has seen his form dip drastically in the last 18 months, and was at fault for two goals in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea.
There have been calls for United to bring in Dean Henderson instead this summer, or sign a new goalkeeper altogether, but Ferdinand has brushed that aside, and says only Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak can replace him, but will cost too much.
Speaking on BT Sport, the former United centre-back said: “Listen, has David de Gea been making mistakes? Yes he has made mistakes. Is he low on confidence? Yes he is low on confidence.
“But has he got the character to come back? Has he proven his character in years gone by? Yes he has.
“When he came to Manchester United he was a 19-year-old and there were question marks straight away over whether he was good enough, is he too slim, is he too frail, he’s not ready to be Man United’s number one goalkeeper.
“He dispelled all of those things that were being said about him through character, hard work, determination and – above anything else – quality.
“He’s been Player of the Year four out of the last six years. This guy, when there was inconsistency at Manchester United, he was the consistent factor all the time there.
“Yes he’s had a bad time there, a bad spell, confidence is low – but does that mean you go out and get rid of him?
“Who are you going to get? Tell me who is out there now they’re going to go and get?
“Dean Henderson is a young goalkeeper… it’s still a big gamble. Who is out there who is actually able to be bought right now, who is going to go in and be a world-class goalkeeper right now at Manchester United?
“The only one I see is Oblak. But can you get him out of Atletico Madrid? And if you do, how much are you going to have to spend? An obscene amount of money. I say stick with him [De Gea]. He’s earned that right to be stuck with.”