Manchester, Feb 22 (IANS) Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has admitted that he, along with a few other senior players, doubted David De Gea’s potential when the Spain No. 1 first arrived at Old Trafford.
“When he first came, as players we were sitting there with doubts really — We need to win every year, how are we going to do that with a young kid, inexperienced, who looks like he’s lacking confidence?” Ferdinand told BT Sport a day after De Gea’s stellar show under the bar against Sevilla in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie.
The tall custodian, now rated as one of world’s best, pulled off vital saves to allow United to scrape a 0-0 draw on a day their rivals dominated.
“Where he is today, that’s a sign of someone who’s worked hard and got to where he needs to get. I think all round he is the full package,” Ferdinand said.
De Gea joined United from Spanish side Atletico Madrid in 2011.
Ferdinand called him “outright the best goalkeeper in the world”, with one save standing out on the night. Luis Muriel looked certain to score when he was given space to head at goal just before half-time, yet despite making a firm connection from four yards his effort was brilliantly pushed over by De Gea.
“Time and time again he produces saves like this, but the great goalkeepers don’t have to make saves every 10 minutes,” Ferdinand said.
“He can be called upon once in a game and he’s got to be there, it’s that concentration at the top level and he has that in abundance.”
Looking at De Gea’s save from Muriel, Ferdinand added: “The speed of that is phenomenal, breathtaking.”
Meanwhile, Paul Scholes also lauded De Gea’s saves and said those will prove vital over the two legs.
“He’s saved Manchester United so many times and saved them so many points and tonight he’s probably ensured that they’ll go through.”