The Scot has launched a staunch defence of the 39-year-old amid concerns about his form, and also praised the "effort and enthusiasm" of Mexican striker Chicharito
The Welshman has started just five Premier League matches this season, a factor which Sir Alex believes may have disrupted his rhythm.And the Scot has defended the 39-year-old after he played 90 minutes in the Red Devils' 4-3 win over Newcastle on Boxing Day.
“It is beyond belief anybody could criticise him. I don't understand it,” Sir Alex told reporters.
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“The problem for a player of Ryan's pride and experience is that he probably wants to play more. He loses that game-play time that gives him consistency.
"But at his age I can't afford to risk him. I don't think I will play him against West Brom tomorrow [Saturday] simply because of the energy he expended on Wednesday to help win the match for us."
The 70-year-old also found time to praise Mexican forward Chicharito, who he believes has regained the form he showed during his first season at Old Trafford.
"He has got 10 goals now and that is despite not playing every week,” Sir Alex said.
"On Wednesday he could have scored four or five. Javier must have run about 20 miles against Newcastle - he never stopped.
"Javier's effort and enthusiasm to play is absolutely fantastic.
"He is a great example to anybody who wants to be a footballer. He is exactly the same in training and gives 100% in every session.”