Rio Ferdinand insists Andre Onana will UNLEASH Man United next season

Rio Ferdinand insists Andre Onana will UNLEASH Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United and hails him as the ‘perfect’ goalkeeper

  • Rio Ferdinand is confident Andre Onana is the best goalkeeper for Man United
  • The Cameroonian was recently brought to Old Trafford to replace David de Gea
  • Ferdinand believes Onana’s ball-playing talents make him a great fit for United 

Andre Onana is the ‘perfect’ goalkeeper for Erik ten Hag to finally release the shackles and unleash his style of play on Manchester United, believes Rio Ferdinand.

David de Gea was shown the door after a season in which he won the Premier League’s Golden Glove award for the most clean sheets and Onana arrived from Inter Milan in a deal worth £47million.

While Ferdinand is convinced De Gea remains ‘one of the best in the world’ as a shot-stopper, he is quick to accept that Ten Hag was ‘restricted’ with the Spaniard between the sticks stylistically, something that is not an issue with the risk-taking Onana starting attacks from his goal-line.

‘It’s weird isn’t it? The keeper that wins the Golden Glove is surplus to requirements at the end of the season,’ TNT Sports pundit Ferdinand said.

‘Never ever would we have seen that but the style of football in today’s game dictated that because you’re asking a lot more of a goalkeeper nowadays. It was normally “can he keep the ball out of the net?” and “can he come for crosses?”. 

Andre Onana was brought to Manchester United this summer as the club’s new number one

David de Gea left United in the summer after the club failed to renew the goalkeeper’s contract

‘But now that would be second, third, maybe fourth stage of requirements for a goalkeeper. A lot of it now is “can they be a player that’s attached to the team?”.’

He added: ‘Keepers in years gone by have been very detached from the 10 outfield players but now the goalkeeper is very much an outfield player and Onana fits the bill perfectly.

‘His style of play will enable Erik ten Hag to implement the way he wants his team to play.

‘I think he was probably restricted a bit with David de Gea because his traits as a footballing goalkeeper are not as strong as someone like Onana.’

That does not mean Onana’s style does not bring with it inherent risk – as United’s fans witnessed first hand last weekend in the friendly win over Lens.

On what was his Old Trafford debut, Onana was left red-faced when Lens’ Florian Sotoca spotted him off his line and proceeded to go for goal from just inside the United half, scoring while the keeper was left slumped in his net after failing to scramble back in time.

But Ferdinand does not subscribe to the view that it will take United’s defenders long to adjust to the different style of goalkeeper behind them, not given their own comforts playing out under pressure.

Ferdinand added: ‘No I don’t think so. I think especially with [Lisandro] Martinez he knows as that’s the game that he’s played. Luke Shaw is very comfortable, Raphael Varane is very comfortable taking the ball, [Diogo] Dalot is very comfortable. Aaron Wan-Bissaka probably not as much but he seems to be improving at a good rate.

Onana was left red-faced on his Old Trafford debut after being spotted off his line and subsequently paid the price

Onana was brought to the club because of his world class ball-playing capabilities

‘But I don’t think it’s just the back four, I think it’s the whole team.

‘We saw them play against (Borussia) Dortmund the other day and [Onana] hit a 60-yard ball into [Marcus] Rashford’s feet, didn’t break stride. So he can play over various distances.

‘But I think the most important factor for how Erik ten Hag wants to play is that this goalkeeper is very much attached to the outfield players as a footballing player.’

While there is excitement aplenty around the new era with Onana between the sticks, question marks remain over De Gea, a former team-mate of Ferdinand’s.

‘I don’t doubt his character, for one, I think he’s a strong kid,’ Ferdinand said.

‘He’s proved on multiple occasions at Manchester United that if there is adversity he’s very capable of coming back from that. What his next move is, I think like everybody I’m intrigued to see where he goes. 

Rio Ferdinand (pictured) believes that Onana will be able to ‘unleash’ Man United next season

Ferdinand isn’t concerned that De Gea (right) will be able to find a new club this summer but was unsure where his former team-mate would end up

‘What spots are even available? I don’t think there’s a big amount of clubs to go to because I think a lot of established No 1s are about at all the big clubs, or a lot of the big clubs. So I’m interested, really, to see where he ends up falling. I couldn’t tell you who, where or what he’s going to be going to next season. I think it’s an interesting scenario for him because he’s never been in this position in his life.’

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