The 30-year-old was deemed surplus to requirements by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following the world record purchase of Harry Maguire from Leicester City.
Injuries to Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, and Marcos Rojo, have meant United’s defence remains a huge cause of concern to the manager.
Maguire, himself, has struggled in recent weeks and was at fault for Chris Wood’s opening goal in the 2-0 defeat to Burnley – leading to a dressing down by Ferdinand.
And he believes Solskjaer acted too swiftly in the summer by allowing Smalling – who is poised to join Roma on a permanent basis – to leave the club.
“Chris Smalling,” replied Ferdinand when asked who Manchester United’s best defender was.
“He’s the best defender at the club. If we’re talking just outright defending, he’s the best defender at the club. I don’t understand it.
“That’s just my opinion as a centre-half looking at it. If I was playing against Burnley today and had to pick a centre-half from Manchester United to play, he would be the first name on the sheet.”
Maguire was confirmed as United’s new captain earlier this week following Ashley Young’s move to Inter Milan and Ferdinand felt the skipper was culpable for Wood’s well taken first half goal.
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