Onana, who joined United from Inter Milan in the summer, was at Ajax during Van der Sar&aposs tenure as the club&aposs marketing director and then chief executive. Van der Sar would sometimes put his gloves back on and train with the Cameroonian.
Van der Sar recently suffered a brain haemorrhage while on holiday and Onana reached out to him after discovering he was seriously ill.
“Of course I had a good relationship with him,” Onana told United&aposs in-house media. “By the way, I spoke with him when I heard the bad news of him, but he is getting well.
“He had a great impact. I was with him in Ajax back in the days. We had a great, great time.
“We were training sometimes together and he advised me a lot. He was happy when I joined United.”
Van der Sar would often check in with Onana after matches during his time at Ajax to advise him and offer him support. Onana continued: “He advised me a lot during the game, after the game, especially if I was making mistakes. He was coming through all the way to the dressing room or to the training session to speak with me and he helped me to build that personality, you know? I will always be thankful to him.”
Onana, who has made 16 appearances for United since his arrival in July, was brought to the club because of his capabilities in possession, meaning the responsibility of a goalkeeper has changed a lot since Van der Sar donned a United shirt. And the Cameroon international recognises the way in which a goalkeeper&aposs responsibility has altered.
“To be honest, now football is so different,” added Onana. “You know, I think the position has changed in the last 20 years.
“Now the goalkeeper is like [having] another player more, you know? And when you look at the way most of the teams want to play, now they use the goalkeeper as a plus one.