Ferdinand praised his fellow United defender Smalling, who started for England last night after a spate of withdrawals at centre half.
He said: "I see him day in and day out and he is a fantastic prospect with great ability, very quick, strong, and he loves to defend.
"He's what you need. He played against Brazil, which would have been a great learning curve for him and he got great experience there so this will be another stage on his learning curve.
"He can continue to learn and get experience and hopefully be ready for the game against Montenegro. Joleon Lescott is a fantastic defender. He's a well-rounded Premier League defender, again with a lot of caps over the last couple of years with England and he's experienced.
"He knows these situations inside out so I don't see it being a big problem for the two guys who play at the back."