The player-turned-pundit is a former team-mate of Keane from the Burnley star's early days at Old Trafford.
While Ferdinand was edging towards the latter stages of his career, he remained a regular figure in the United first XI.
As a result, United academy product Keane was not afforded an opportunity to shine, making just five first-team appearances before leaving permanently for Burnley.
However, the centre-half has flourished since at Turf Moor and worked his way onto the fringes of the England squad.
Michael Keane has played every minute of Premier League football for Burnley this season
The 24-year-old's performances have drawn interest from Chelsea and Everton who could target a move in the summer, according to the Mirror, with fees in excess of £15million suggested.
During his development at Manchester United alongside Ferdinand, Keane was vocal and eager to learn from his experienced colleagues.
And with Paul Pogba having left at a young age and earned his world-record £89m switch back to United, Ferdinand feels Keane is capable of following a similar route.
Michael Keane didn't get many first-team opportunities at Manchester United
At Manchester United he wasn’t afforded that opportunity
“He likes to ask questions, he likes constructive criticism and that’s a great attribute to have, to be there, to look at your game in detail and try and improve,” Ferdinand told BBC 5 Live.
“He’s always wanting to improve, whether it’s nutrition, whether it’s physical, whether it’s actual working on your game after training. He was always wanting to learn and understand more.
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“I think the moment he found out he was going to leave Manchester United – every kid’s dream in that area is to play for Manchester United – so to leave the club was a huge wrench for him.
“But it allowed him to go and spread his wings and bloom really and become the player he is now. At Manchester United he wasn’t afforded that opportunity, for whatever reason.
Rio Ferdinand believes Michael Keane can follow Paul Pogba back to Manchester United
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“You look at the likes of Pogba; he’s gone away and come back now and become a huge star. Michael Keane, he could do that himself.”
Jose Mourinho is expected to bolster his defence in the summer, with Benfica's Victor Lindelof heavily linked.
A long-term partner for Eric Bailly is the target at United, and Keane could be looked at if he continues to impress.
He told The Guardian: "I do feel sometimes that things could have been different [at United] but I don’t regret anything because the move has definitely been the best thing for me.”