David de Gea remains a “class act” in the eyes of Rio Ferdinand, but the Manchester United goalkeeper has been warned that he needs to prove his worth again on the back of a few uncharacteristic errors.
De Gea came through that to become a four-time Player of the Year at Old Trafford, with the Spaniard proving to be a model of consistency in what was a testing time for everyone in the wake of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
A standing among the finest keepers on the planet was secured, but standards have dipped slightly of late and questions are now being asked of whether change is required between the sticks.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has kept faith with De Gea for now, but Dean Henderson is returning to his ranks from another productive loan spell at Sheffield United.
Ferdinand does not expect the gloves to change hands in Manchester any time soon, with added competition for places set to benefit all concerned, but he is looking for a proven performer to end any debate regarding his position.
The legendary former United defender told TEAMtalk: “De Gea has the ability to get back to where he was.
“He’s shown over the years that he is a class act. He can now have a break for a few weeks and come back with his focus renewed.
“He has the mentality to come back and reach his levels again. We’ve seen time and again how good he can be. I think he can still be a big player for United, but he has a point to prove again now. He has had tough times before and has come back.
“He’s a great goalkeeper and over the years he has been fantastic for United. He was player of the year four out of six years or whatever it was, but if you are not producing the goods over an extended period of time you have to be told and there has to be someone waiting in the wings to come in.”
While De Gea has work to do as the last line of defence, United have others nailing down their respective spots.
January signing Bruno Fernandes falls into that category, with the Portuguese playmaker having been a talismanic presence for the Red Devils as ambitious plans for the future start to be drawn up at Old Trafford once more.
Ferdinand added: “Fernandes has been a breath of fresh air for the team. Where he has been great is unlocking the imagination of the team.
“You see Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Mason Greenwood, and the minute Fernandes get the ball, they are off, they know their chance is coming. He doesn’t need a second invitation to deliver that pass.
“That’s what top players do. They change a team and a club with their presence, and we have seen that with Fernandes at United.”