Rio Ferdinand admits he was ‘flabbergasted’ by David de Gea’s nightmare performance at Wembley and says the Manchester United goalkeeper ‘is not in a position to be defended’ given his recent form.
De Gea has struggled to replicate his best form in recent months and there have been calls to drop the Spaniard following his poor performance on Sunday, the 29-year-old making two high-profile mistakes as United were beaten 3-1 by Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals.
The impressive form of Dean Henderson on loan at Sheffield United has also raised question marks over De Gea’s long-term future at Old Trafford, with many believing the 23-year-old should be handed an opportunity next season.
Ferdinand – who played alongside De Gea for three seasons – admits it is ‘natural’ to see his former teammate receiving criticism following his recent showings and says the Spain international ‘should be doing better’ in his position as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s number one.
“When people make mistakes, they’re open to criticism. That’s just natural, that is just how football is,” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “David de Gea is no exception.
“He’s made mistakes, glaring mistakes in some big games, notably the game against Chelsea in the semi-final at Wembley.
“Yes, he should be doing better. I have played with David, he’s his own biggest critic.
“He’ll be sitting at home mulling over these, going through the situations and making sure that he tries to get rid of these mistakes that he is committing at the moment.
— The Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) July 19, 2020
“I watched these games with my boys at home and I was flabbergasted to see them go past David because he’s a top-drawer goalkeeper.
“It is disappointing really, as a Manchester United fan you want to defend your player but at the moment he is not in a position to be defended in that respect.”
Ferdinand believes De Gea’s confidence is low following a difficult spell of late, but insists the goalkeeper has the ‘character’ to prove the critics wrong and turn his form around.
“Has David de Gea been making mistakes? Yes he has made mistakes.
”Is he low on confidence? Yes he is low on confidence, but has he got the character to come back?
“Has he proved his character in years gone by? Yes he has, when he came to Manchester United, he was a 19-year-old, there were question marks straight away about ‘is he good enough?’, ‘is he too slim’, ‘is he too frail’, ‘he’s not ready to be Man United’s goalkeeper’.”