It has been an unbelievable few years for Manchester United’s Spanish shot stopper. Save after save clean sheet after clean sheet. His form saw him win the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year (the name of the Manchester United Player of the Year award) three times in a row between 2013 and 2016. He became the first goalkeeper to claim the prize and the first player to win it three times in a row. A 4-0 win against Everton at Old Trafford saw him bring up his century of clean sheets. It has been a great journey for David De Gea which did not start with the same joy as it provides now.
De Gea joined United in 2011 after long term number one Edwin van der Sar retired. Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted he was going to move for Manuel Neuer before a member of his scouting team strongly informed him that the young Spaniard would be a better option. Signed for £19 million from Atletico Madrid De Gea endured a torrid start in Manchester and struggled to adapt to the Premier League. His skinny frame and lack of good decision making from set pieces and crosses was evident to see and a weakness for United.
It was a difficult first year for De Gea but Ferguson and Manchester United kept faith in the young goalkeeper. They were proven right as after the retirement of long term boss Ferguson the keeper was the most consistent and brightest star. Every manager that has come into the club since the departure of the Scotsman has done everything within their power to keep him at the club. Even though the defence has chopped and changed De Gea has stayed and steadied the ship.
The attraction of Real Madrid, who are consistently interested in the goalkeeper, has turned his head at times. The attraction of ‘Los Blancos’ and Barcelona is such an attraction for Spanish players. De Gea has been reported to want the Madrid move, which could have materialised if it was not for a faulty fax machine. De Gea remains at Manchester United and seems happier than ever now the clubs fortunes have turned around. Credit has to be given to Jose Mourinho for the job he has done at United but pleasing De Gea is the most important thing he has done. Champions League football must have played a huge factor in the keeper staying and Mourinho was able to achieve that.
With De Gea nothing is beyond the realm of possibility. He makes saves that he just should have no right in even thinking about. His agility and reactions single him out as the best goalkeeper in the world. Lets not forget that the United player is only 26 years of age and is coming into the prime of his career. He has ironed out the weaknesses in his game since arriving at Old Trafford and developed his game.
His distribution is another part of his game that sets him apart from the rest. His comfortable receiving back passes and his range of passing is far superior to many outfield players. Now he has a solid team in front of him with Eric Bailly and Phil Jones being selected at centre back together. Nemanja Matic also provides excellent cover in the midfield. Even though he is now being asked to do less in games for his club his concentration is still on point. He can have two or three situations to deal with in a game but he still performs at the highest level.
De Gea seems to be in Manchester for good. Madrid have not attempted to sign him as aggressively as they have in the past. United seem to have sorted out their issues and Mourinho has now said after three years of standing still the club is moving forward. That must be music to the players, fans and directors ears. It must also satisfy De Gea’s ambitions. Reaching 100 clean sheets is a great achievement, there will be more – he may even be eyeing Peter Schmeichels 180 clean sheet record. But for now enjoy what De Gea has already done!
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