Back in 2011, Manchester United signed a young Spanish goalkeeper who goes by the name of David de Gea. De Gea, born in Madrid, progressed through Atletico Madrid’s youth system, where he honed his skills from the tender age of ten. He made over fifty appearances for Atleti before his 20th birthday – thats when United made their move.
He had emerged as one of the hottest young keepers in the world, and Sir Alex Ferguson recognised that after extensive scouting. We all knew that Edwin van der Sar was going to call it a day that season, and David de Gea had huge gloves to fill from the off.
United laid out £18million to bring a very slim, lightweight David de Gea into the depths of the Premier League. Games like Stoke City away, and West Ham at the Boleyn Ground were always going to be his biggest tests due to the physicality of the Premier League.
As you’d expect, he made a shaky start to his career, making almost a mistake every game for the first few months. That led to him being dropped in favour of Anders Lindegaard for a period of time, but after the turn of the year, we seen a completely new keeper emerge between the sticks.
We always knew his shot-stopping was amongst the best in the world, and that has one thing that has always been a constant in his game. He has the ability to dive through the air and deny those goals that look a certainty, thats one thing that is special about him.
However over the past few years, us United fans have watched him grow and mature into a real leader. That was epitomised by his absolutely scintillating performance at home to Everton yesterday, and backed up by the more than deserved Manchester United Player of the Year award he received in the summer.
Hes bulked up, grown in stature and in confidence. He’s no longer afraid to come out and challenge the likes of Romelu Lukaku in the air, and more often than not he comes away with the ball. The most impassive thing for me is how well he deals with an ever-changing back four. He’s now one of the more experienced players in this new era at Manchester United, and he really does lead from the back.
That game yesterday will go down in history as one of his best at Manchester United, and without him in goal, we wouldn’t be a bunch of happy football fans this morning, we’d be going into work moaning and groaning about more points dropped late on.
First up, the penalty save. Leighton Baines has taken 14 penalties in the Premier League, and scored all 14 of them. Yesterday David stopped that excellent run with a good save down to his right-hand side.
He was fairly quiet from then on until about the 80th minute, when Leon Osman fired in a low shot through a number of bodies, David smartly saved it and held onto the ball to stop Romelu Lukaku nipping in and scoring a real poachers goal.
For the next ten minutes, Manchester United’s defenders did their jobs resolutely – up until injury time when Big Dave was needed again. The shot came from Leon Osman once more, who must’ve thought he’d beaten Dave with a shot across the face of the goal. Only for our flying Spaniard to dive through the air and get a strong hand on the ball to tip it wide – a superb save.
He wasn’t done there though, and he certainly saved his best till last. Tyler Blackett made a last-ditch block to deny Gareth Barry in the dying embers of the game, but the ball fell right to the feet of Bryan Oviedo as De Gea was stranded. Somehow, the keeper managed to get up on his feet, dive across the face of goal and tip the ball over the bar to break Everton hearts. I’d go as far as saying that no other keeper in world football would’ve saved that strike, and what a time to pull it right out of the bag.
David de Gea has rightly been included in the last few Spain squads due to his outstanding performances, and I’d go as far as saying that he should be their #1 for the upcoming friendlies over the next couple of weeks.
He’s certainly grown from his time at Manchester United, and he certainly seems to love it here. My only concern is that when one of Spain’s big two come calling, he might find it too hard to say no…
Do you think David de Gea is the best keeper in the Premier League? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below.