When David De Gea joined Manchester United, he was following in the footsteps of the backbone of Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad – Edwin van der Sar.
Van Der Sar’s performance in the Champions League final in 2008 alone proved his importance, and he was arguably Manchester United’s best loved goalkeeper since Peter Schmeichel.
Edwin van der Sar’s retirement was a huge blow for United. Who could replace him? Enter David De Gea.
At only 21 years old when joining the club, the Spaniard was almost half Van Der Sar’s age. This lead to the assumption that De Gea would have only a mere percentage of his experience and skill.
The beginning of De Gea’s career at Manchester United and in the Premier League was rocky. Making schoolboy errors did neither help his confidence nor bring the supporters on side. Fans could not see how De Gea could fit into the Van Der Sar shaped hole in the squad. But, Sir Alex Ferguson continued to back him and include him in his starting line ups.
Whilst continuing to settle into his new team and league, De Gea came under fire for United’s 6-1 defeat to rivals Manchester City at home in 2011 – which only knocked him back even further. It was not until the following February that De Gea found the ‘turning point’ in his season: 3-3 at Stamford Bridge, and that save from then Chelsea player Juan Mata. It was at this point De Gea’s potential was beginning to be noticed.
Fast forward to the 14/15 season.
Following the departure of Alex Ferguson, the shambles of David Moyes – finishing seventh in the Premier League and losing out on Champions League football meant United were on the back of their worst season in a long time. After the defeat to Leicester this season – and throwing away a three goal lead – Van Gaal’s Manchester United are finally finding their form. And De Gea is the shining star who is proving his worth week in, week out.
David De Gea is the only Manchester United player to play every minute of the season.
He has become so valuable that he is invaluable and his passion shows in every passing game. He is only 24 years old, and his standard is becoming exceptionally good.
Is he the best player in the Premier League? Absolutely. There is no denying the talent of the likes of Thibaut Courtois and Joe Hart, but they have the luxury of a solid – and consistent – defence. De Gea does not. Is he the best in the world? He is not quite at Neuer’s standard – yet.
De Gea helped his side to their sixth consecutive win and it is not the only time this season he has saved his side’s skin. The best is still to come from De Gea.
If Louis van Gaal and Ed Woodward can ward off interest from the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United will be in safe hands.
Manchester United fans. How vital has De Gea become for you? Let us know your thoughts below, become a guest blogger or tweet us @LaFootyettes.