Rio Ferdinand, a former Manchester United center-back, has stressed the importance of the club’s senior defenders in supporting Andre Onana during his early tenure at Old Trafford.
Drawing on his own experience when a young David de Gea arrived in 2011, Ferdinand emphasized that making new goalkeepers feel appreciated and reducing criticism after errors are vital for their development.
Onana, aged 27, is already facing scrutiny due to a few costly moments after his arrival from Inter Milan as David De Gea’s replacement. Ferdinand expressed, “Experienced players need to boost the confidence of the newcomers during those moments.
When they make a good save, it’s about providing reassurance; when they make a mistake, it’s about refraining from harsh criticism.
There will be instances when constructive criticism is necessary, but with young and fragile players, similar to how David was back then, you need to handle those situations smartly.”
Ferdinand highlighted the significance of new goalkeepers feeling the trust and confidence of their team-mates, irrespective of external judgments. He urged the experienced players at Manchester United to rally around Onana and provide the support needed.
Based on his interactions with Onana, Ferdinand expressed his belief in the Cameroon international’s self-confidence and his potential to bounce back from challenging periods.
He stated, “He appears to be a confident individual.
I’ve had a few conversations with him, and he exudes confidence. Mistakes are a natural part of the game, and he understands that.”
Ferdinand also emphasized Onana’s prior experiences in handling mistakes and rebuilding, citing his participation in major finals with Inter Milan and Ajax. He praised Onana’s character and resilience, highlighting his ability to rebound from setbacks.
According to Ferdinand, the feedback from the staff also underlines Onana’s character and suitability for the challenges he faces at Manchester United.