Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has waded in on Andre Onana’s poor start to life at the club, comparing his situation to that of predecessor David de Gea.
Onana joined the Red Devils for an initial £43.8m from Inter during the summer transfer window, reuniting with former Ajax manager Erik ten Hag.
But the Cameroonian’s Man Utd career has been plagued by various errors and mistakes thus far, with his most recent blip coming in Saturday’s 2-1 win at home to Brentford.
Mathias Jensen gave the Bees the lead with a pretty tame strike down the middle of the goal, with Onana somehow failing to keep the ball out. United would go on to claim the three points courtesy of a brace from Scott McTominay in second-half stoppage time.
After McTominay bagged the 97th-minute winner, Onana sprinted the full length of the pitch to celebrate with his teammates, which reminded Ferdinand of his own antics when David Beckham scored the dramatic goal against Greece that sent England to the 2002 World Cup.
“I saw a bit of myself, I didn’t play well when England drew against Greece when David Beckham scored that free-kick,” Ferdinand said on the FIVE podcast.
“I remember celebrating with Becks and thanking him. I saw a bit of that in Onana. When you make a mistake…I could sense the relief that he had.
“He should have made the save [to deny Jensen]. In training, he probably makes that save every day. I saw a quote from Peter Schmeichel, who spoke to him and told him not to let [the pressure of] Man Utd get to you.
“At the moment, there are nerves that are in there, because of the mistakes. A lot of people are asking if he can recover. I was there when De Gea came. He was obviously younger but he didn’t start well, you know. I think in his first 10 games or so, the numbers are similar to Onana.
“If you were to speak to Onana himself, I think he would say, ‘This is not the start I wanted, this is no way near the level I am used to performing at and this is not the standard required at Man Utd so I need to buck up my ideas’.”
De Gea arrived at Man Utd in 2011 from Atletico Madrid as a 20-year-old and made several blunders during his debut season.
However, he would go on to have a long and successful career at Old Trafford, making 545 appearances – the seventh-most in Man Utd history and the highest tally among foreign players.
He left the club this summer after failing to agree terms over a new contract, leading to Onana’s arrival.