Louis van Gaal decided to name Rooney his captain in the summer, shortly before he took the armband from Steven Gerrard for England, and Ferdinand believes that his ex-teammate needed the extra responsibility at this stage of his career.
"Wayne's record demanded that he wears the Manchester United armband," the Queens Park Rangers centre-back told the Manchester Evening News. "He deserves it.
"Wayne has things to reach for still and the captaincy is another responsibility that will help him to get to those landmarks quicker.
"I think he needed it now. I have known what it is like to be at a club for a long time like Wayne and you need those little extras, that extra lift or kick on to push on again. I think it was something he was going to need over the coming years."
Rooney scored his 43rd goal for England in the 1-0 victory over Estonia on Sunday.