Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand have hailed the goalkeeping skills of Edwin Van der Sar after helping Manchester United create a double slice of Barclays Premier League history.
Van der Sar set a new individual record for the most minutes without conceding a goal when he surpassed Chelsea star Petr Cech's tally of 1,025 during the 5-0 demolition of West Brom at The Hawthorns on Tuesday evening.
And the 38-year-old also played a key role in the Red Devils clocking up an 11th successive clean sheet, beating the record set by Chelsea four years ago.
Ferdinand, who returned ahead of schedule from a back complaint against the Baggies, said: "Edwin is the best keeper I've played with. It's as simple as that.
"The record, the stuff we've won together, the assuredness that he transmits from himself to the back four, is great.
"I also don't think I've seen a better keeper with his feet to be honest either. He's got an extra year in terms of his contract and I am sure he's got the capabilities to go and do it again."
Giggs said: "Edwin just gives that calming influence right throughout the team, with his calmness on the ball when we play back passes to him, and his general goalkeeping is sound really.
"That calming influence goes right through the team. He is getting better with age. Obviously he has got great players in front of him but, when he is called upon, he never makes a mistake.
"With the clean sheets, Edwin has done brilliant over the last two or three months."
Giggs believes it is unfair to try to compare Van Der Sar and Peter Schmeichel who dominated between the posts for United during the 1990s.
He said: "Is he as good as Schmeichel? They are both great keepers. You can't really compare them. They are both brilliant, both international keepers, both who have had great careers."
Giggs claims the clean sheet record is even more meritorious given the injuries United have suffered to the likes of Ferdinand, Wes Brown and Patrice Evra in recent months.
He said: "There have been great defenders at this club but, to go on the run we've gone on, and with some tough games in there as well, is brilliant.
"You've got to credit the defenders, the keeper and the whole team for the way they have defended.
"In a way to achieve the record is an even better achievement because we have not been able to have a settled back four recently.
"Credit to the people who have come into the side like Fabio and Rafael (da Silva) and Johnny Evans. It's been a big squad effort."
Ferdinand is refusing to get carried away with United's surge to the top of the table after six successive wins.
He said: "It is just about continuing what we have been doing. I think we have been very tight of late. We have got players who are very businesslike at the moment.
"The players want to get the job done, score goals, want to defend - and defend for our lives - and keep clean sheets.
"With that form, you are onto a good thing, but medals haven't been handed out yet so we are not going to get ahead of ourselves.
"We set ourselves a target, we have got to where we wanted to be at this stage, and we need to continue that now."
Ferdinand is confident his back problem is behind him after missing 11 games in all competitions.
He said: "I could have played a little bit longer at West Brom but the manager brought me off. I am fine. There are no problems.
"I've just got to keep on top of it, keep working hard and keep doing my training, and continue to be injury free hopefully."
Baggies boss Tony Mowbray will now be without his two most experienced players with Paul Robinson facing a three-game ban for a challenge on Ji-Sung Park.
That followed on from skipper Jonathan Greening being ruled out for up to six weeks with medial knee ligament damage.
Mowbray said: "Greening is a big player and a big loss. He is a leader for our team on our pitch and, when you lose your leaders, it becomes more difficult when you need people to pull them together.
"It is a blow for us but we've got to get on with it. It is part and parcel of football and Manchester United did okay without 12 players against us. We've just got to get on with our injuries at the moment."
Robinson's enforced absence will mean an opportunity for Marek Cech to stake a claim to become the first-choice left-back.
He said: "Marek is here because he is a good footballer and he suffered because of the boy in the team in front of him (Robinson).
"If Robbo has a ban then Marek will get a chance to play and we will have to see how it goes. He did very well in the last few games."Reuse content