The 34-year-old centre-back was left needing treatment at the Etihad Stadium after being hit in the face following Robin van Persie's late winner, prompting calls for changeProfessional Footballers' Association chief Gordon Taylor believes that the Premier League must look at installing crowd netting at grounds after Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was hit in the face by a coin during the derby clash against Manchester City on Sunday.
The incident occurred at the end of the game as Ferdinand celebrated Robin van Persie's late winner which handed Sir Alex Ferguson's men a 3-2 victory over their local rivals.
The game also saw a Manchester City fan invade the pitch and only intervention from goalkeeper Joe Hart prevented Ferdinand from being confronted by the supporter.
Both the Football Association and local police have begun investigations into the matter and Taylor says thought must be given as to how to prevent such incidents from happening again.
"I think you've got to give consideration to possibly, as has been suggested, some netting in vulnerable areas, be it behind the goals and round the corner flags," Taylor told BBC Radio 5 Live.
Ferdinand, meanwhile, attempted to make light of the clash after the game, while making a point of thanking his former international team-mate Hart for diffusing the situation.
"What a result, 3points! Sweet! Whoever threw that coin,what a shot! Can't believe it was a copper 2p....could have at least been a £1 coin!," Ferdinand tweeted.
"Respect to Joe Hart for protecting that idiot who ran on!! Love the banter between fans but there is a point when it goes too far...calm it."