David de Gea’s year of growth

David De Gea

April 2012: Manchester City’s Joe Hart was named in the Premier League team of the year, while Manchester United’s David De Gea faced a summer of seemingly endless debate about his future as the club’s number one keeper. There were plenty of suggestions that the Spaniard could be replaced permanently, either by Anders Lindegaard, or by a new number acquisition.

Fast forward 12 months and few United supporters were surprised to see the 22-year old named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year after a series of terrific performances that underpinned the club’s march towards a 20th league title.

De Gea has been an ever-present in the team in 2013, starting all but one fixture – United’s FA Cup replay versus West Ham United – since Lindegaard’s calamitous performance in the 4-3 win against Reading in December. In the period De Gea amassed an unbroken sequence of 678 minutes without conceding a Premier League goal until James Milner beat the Spaniard with a deflected shot in the recent Manchester derby.

It hasn’t always been rosy though. Early criticism of de Gea’s lack of physical presence and the youngster’s weakness in dealing with crosses seemed warranted as he struggled to acclimatise to the physical rigours of the Premier League, as a 20-year old in his first season at United. The improvement has been tremendous, with the Spaniard benefiting from a customised strength-building programme, which has aided his confidence in dealing with crosses and some of the more robust aspects of the English game

Still, it has not been an easy season for de Gea in the media. In January, there was a universally brutal press assessment after the ‘keeper’s weak punch led to a late Tottenham Hotspur equaliser at White Hart Lane. That many commentators failed to mention de Gea’s heroics throughout the match smacked of a pre-meditated agenda to savage the young ‘keeper.

More surprising, perhaps, was ex-Red Gary Neville’s assessment, who used his platform as a Sky pundit to lambast de Gea for his gaffe against Spurs.

The lone voice of support, it seemed, was ex-United goalkeeping great Peter Schmeichel, who offered a robust defence of a stopper who has dealt with a constantly changing back-four this season. While the finger of blame was squarely pointed at the player, many commentators draw parallels between de Gea’s acquisition and Sir Alex Ferguson’s “disastrous” attempt to replace Schmeichel with Massimo Taibi and Mark Bosnich, among others.

Indeed, though Ferguson stood firm in his support for de Gea during a difficult period, many pundits had already begun writing the obituary on the younger ‘keeper’s time at United.

“Sir Alex Ferguson has become exasperated by De Gea’s inability to iron out the flaws in his game,” said The Telegraph’s Mark Ogden in January.

“Senior players at the club are understood to have lost faith in the 22-year-old even before his costly injury-time mistake against Tottenham on Sunday which led to the home side claiming a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane.”

Meanwhile, Alan Nixon in the Mirror claimed that “United chief has asked supremo David Gill and the club’s American owners to fund a buy for a genuine number one.”

The Daily Mail, widely recognised for a hyperbolic approach to reporting on United, preposterously suggested that United could move for Liverpool’s Pepe Reina or Barcelona stopper Victor Valdes, ignoring the very real truth that the two ‘keepers’ position in the Spanish squad were in fact under threat from de Gea. When Real Madrid number one Iker Casillas suffered injury recently, it was de Gea that received the call-up for World Cup qualifiers against Finland and France.

In contradiction to the reporting in England, it is widely accepted in Spain that it is now a matter of time before de Gea replaces the aforementioned trio to become Spain’s numero uno.

In the meantime, de Gea has continued to improve. Confident performances against physical teams such as Stoke City and West Ham in recent weeks seemingly underscored the benefits of a stringent gym routine. And while accusations of physical frailty are common, few can now doubt de Gea’s mental strength after coming through a sustained media witch-hunt. Perhaps the player’s apparent poor command of English helped.

de Gea should remain at the club for the long-term too, with the 22-year-old refuting suggestions that he is homesick. Re-affirmation of the player’s commitment to remain at Old Trafford was welcome in the face of the player’s stunning performance against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu earlier this season. De Gea made a number of crucial saves – one shot tipped on to the post with his finger-tips and another saved brilliantly with the right foot.

Credit for the player’s performances is seemingly shared between Sir Alex and United’s goalkeeping coach Eric Steele, who remained undeterred in a conviction that the player’s is potential world-class. Ferguson has since then credited de Gea for United’s significant defensive improvement during the second half of the season.

“David de Gea has developed and matured as the season has gone on,” said Ferguson. “We’ve seen a very progressive and developing young goalkeeper and next season he’ll be even better.”

With an inaugural Premier League title secure, and a consistent season under his belt, de Gea’s campaign has culminated in the Spaniard being chosen ahead of City’s much-lauded Hart as the PFA’s choice for the Premier League goalkeeper of the season.

Replacing one of the game’s great, Edwin van der Sar, was never an easy task, especially at a club of United’s stature. The job isn’t complete, tet de Gea has shown the mental fortitude at a young age to withstand the pressure directed at him. It is surely good preparation for a long United career.

David de Gea’s Season
Premier League Games: 27
Minutes: 2430
Goals Against: 25
Goals Allowed Average: 0.93
Saves: 90
Shots faced: 300
Shots on Goal faced: 112
Saves Percentage: 78.3%
Clean Sheets: 11
Yellow Cards: 0

Source: STATS.

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Comments

  1. Wow Really as far as i’m concerned Divid De Gea is a world class keeper and i believe he will be the best goalkeeper in the world next season and i proud of him to be at Old Traford and say congaratulations for his overcame the deffiticult times

  2. Coach Herbie says:

    De Gea will go on to be the world number one. He is very young still, but he has so much experience already by just playing regularly in the premier division and this has made his keeping improve in leaps and bonds. Fergie needs to give other youngsters more playing time if he wants them to improve, especially Nick Powell and Hernandez.

  3. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadffs says:

    proper twat that mark ogden

    degeas not better than hart though tbf

  4. RobDiablo RobDiablo says:

    uncleknobheadffs said:
    degeas not better than hart though tbf

    He was this season, and he’s more than three years younger than Hart. I think there’s a very good chance that he will be better than Hart when both are at their best.

  5. Sid sidney says:

    Hart has been utter shite this season. It says a lot when Foster comes out of retirement. The cunt smells blood.
    It’s gonna take some balls to drop him though. Mancini doesn’t even have the bollocks to sign a keeper who is a genuine threat to the number 1 shirt. We might have to wait til he fucks up in Brazil before he’s dropped.
    De Gea has been class though. His hair is a lot better now. His squint worries me though.

  6. Pikey McScum Pikey McScum says:

    It’s way too early for me to say “I told you so”, but the signs are promising – you mucky cunts lol

    Commenter said:
    De Gea will go on to be the world number one. He is very young still, but he has so much experience already by just playing regularly in the premier division and this has made his keeping improve in leaps and bonds. Fergie needs to give other youngsters more playing time if he wants them to improve, especially Nick Powell and Hernandez.

    The level of insight you have is truly astonishing – ever think of writing articles for Rant? If not, you really should…

  7. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    uncleknobheadffs said:
    proper twat that mark ogden

    degeas not better than hart though tbf

    To be fair Knobby, Citys’ defense makes him look better than he is… so far, he’s only made 59 saves, to De Geas’ 88.

    Jaaskelainen’s made 148… fuckin hell… I bet he thrashes about in his sleep.

  8. Pikey McScum Pikey McScum says:

    Alfonso Bedoya said:
    … fuckin hell… I bet he thrashes about in his sleep.

    Ask Brian – he’ll know

  9. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadffs says:

    hes been great but its only a couple of months since that horrendous bit of bottling shite that let southampton have a goal at ot
    hes been about as good as hart was at birmingham, harts kicked on further since then
    dont disagree that degea will probably end up better though
    but then hart will probably stay at city, degea will go back to spain when he hits his peak

    LKHF

    faffing

  10. sheesh says:

    Hart has been shit this season.

    Put de gea in a wheelchair this season and he’d still have been miles better.

  11. Hart is a prime example of a jonny big cajones, he clearly believes he is the king kong daddy for winning a league title and being Engerland number 1.

    He’s been absolutely abysmal all season for Citeh, so many of the goals he has conceded you’d expect to be stopped.

    He’s a whiney moany get too

  12. captainhormone captainhormone says:

    sheesh said:
    Hart has been shit this season.

    Put de gea in a wheelchair this season and he’d still have been miles better.

    Oh hello..

  13. Pikey McScum Pikey McScum says:

    captainhormone said:
    Oh hello..

    LOL

    I fucking knew that was coming.

    And so is Cap by the sounds of it…

  14. captainhormone captainhormone says:

  15. I’m beyond astonished at the crowd panning de Gea has received since he joined Utd – not just by the usual harpy media circles, but by halfwitted sections of the actual Utd support. From the get go his raw quality was without question, and he’s actually honed and developed his talents at a lightning pace. His supposed fuck-ups have been WILDLY exaggerated when judged against his overall performances. And this never-ending ‘shot-stopper’ tugfest just cheapens the player’s attributes: his general reading of attacking build-up is magnificent, week-in week-out, as is his distribution, which just gets better. That blue-tongued oik with the five pound haircut has been a fucking dog’s mess in goal for citeh this season – I wish he’d fuck off back to whatever shite-ridden troglodyte hovel he came from so people would stop drawing these slack-jawed comparisons with DDG.

  16. Pikey McScum Pikey McScum says:

    What’s C short for?

    Welcome to Rant “Cunt”

    Agree with all that tbf

  17. Coach Herbie says:

    I would love to right articles for Rant. I can coach United and win everything without spending millions on so called star players. These glory-hunting managers do not know how to build a world class team without spending millions. Look at Mourinho, he can’t win the Champions league so now he wants to leave Madrid and join Chelsea. And he will not join Chelsea unless he has at least 200 million to spend on players. Never want this cunt at United, he would destroy our academy. Need managers like Guardiola, Rogers,, Moyes who build teams from and through the academy. We must build from our youngsters, that is our future.

  18. Pikey McScum Pikey McScum says:

    Commenter said:
    I would love to right articles for Rant. I can coach United and win everything without spending millions on so called star players.

    Fuck

    sake

  19. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadffs says:

    ed has to make it happen tbf

  20. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    oh fuckin hell Herbie… please stop… you’re embarrassing the whole fuckin forum.

  21. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadffs says:

    no hes not, or not as much as someone with excessive weight would

    LKHF

    faffing

  22. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    How’s it going, down the gym?

  23. I’ve had a massive manrection for de Gea since we bought him, tbf. And the fact that so many people (including united fans) dislike him just makes it engorge further.

    Tbf herbie has probably won everything with united on the championship manager 2001 file he’s been playing for 12 years

  24. captainhormone captainhormone says:

    Commenter said:
    I would love to right articles for Rant. I can coach United and win everything without spending millions on so called star players. These glory-hunting managers do not know how to build a world class team without spending millions. Look at Mourinho, he can’t win the Champions league so now he wants to leave Madrid and join Chelsea. And he will not join Chelsea unless he has at least 200 million to spend on players. Never want this cunt at United, he would destroy our academy. Need managers like Guardiola, Rogers,, Moyes who build teams from and through the academy. We must build from our youngsters, that is our future.

    Tbf…oh I can’t be fucking arsed

  25. Pikey McScum Pikey McScum says:

    Imagine if Herbie was a mod…

    It would piss Brian off something serious tbf

  26. Pikey McScum Pikey McScum says:

    Commenter said:
    Wow Really as far as i’m concerned Divid De Gea is a world class keeper and i believe he will be the best goalkeeper in the world next season and i proud of him to be at Old Traford and say congaratulations for his overcame the deffiticult times

    E’s a velly nice boy, make good play keepee uppee no?

  27. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadffs says:

    hes not world class ffs

    people are going too far the other way with him

  28. brianofnazareth brianofnazareth says:

    Commenter said:
    I’m beyond astonished at the crowd panning de Gea has received since he joined Utd – not just by the usual harpy media circles, but by halfwitted sections of the actual Utd support. From the get go his raw quality was without question, and he’s actually honed and developed his talents at a lightning pace. His supposed fuck-ups have been WILDLY exaggerated when judged against his overall performances. And this never-ending ‘shot-stopper’ tugfest just cheapens the player’s attributes: his general reading of attacking build-up is magnificent, week-in week-out, as is his distribution, which just gets better. That blue-tongued oik with the five pound haircut has been a fucking dog’s mess in goal for citeh this season – I wish he’d fuck off back to whatever shite-ridden troglodyte hovel he came from so people would stop drawing these slack-jawed comparisons with DDG.

    I like you. That’s not good news for you either…

  29. brianofnazareth brianofnazareth says:

    Pikey McScum said:
    Imagine if Herbie was a mod…

    It would piss Brian off something serious tbf

    Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to accept a role as Mod. It’s with great sadness that I must opt out of the running, the role is for a sad twat who spends all his time on here and not with humans in the real world…

    Should be a tight finish between Alf and Knob.

  30. Just1n says:

    Commenter said:
    I would love to right articles for Rant. I can coach United and win everything without spending millions on so called star players. These glory-hunting managers do not know how to build a world class team without spending millions. Look at Mourinho, he can’t win the Champions league so now he wants to leave Madrid and join Chelsea. And he will not join Chelsea unless he has at least 200 million to spend on players. Never want this cunt at United, he would destroy our academy. Need managers like Guardiola, Rogers,, Moyes who build teams from and through the academy. We must build from our youngsters, that is our future.

    What academy you talking about?

  31. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadffs says:

    brianofnazareth said:
    Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to accept a role as Mod. It’s with great sadness that I must opt out of the running, the role is for a sad twat who spends all his time on here and not with humans in the real world…

    Should be a tight finish between Alf and Knob.

    ive never been offered nor would i ever accept

  32. Pikey McScum Pikey McScum says:

    uncleknobheadffs said:
    ive never been offered nor would i ever accept

    Good.

    I much prefer you the way you are

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