When Iker Casillas says 'he'll soon be challenging me, he's a great keeper...' you know the Manchester United target is worth the money...
Perhaps the most useful thing Manchester United fans can learn about their club’s future goalkeeper, David De Gea, whilst they wait for the Spaniard to make it up to the North West is how to pronounce his name correctly to avoid any unnecessary sniggers or tittering from rival supporters. Rather than David De ‘Gayer’, it’s David De ‘Heyah’ with a slight clearing of the throat required on the opening syllable of his surname.
However, this will be of know use whatsoever for those desperate to find out whether what is set to be an expensive splurge will be the next Peter Schmeichel or Mark Bosnich of Old Trafford. That’s something where only time will tell but the signs are perky that the goalkeeping force is strong in this particular ‘portero’.
The difference between the Great Dane and the goalkeeper who is set to spend most of his professional career being known as the ‘new Iker Casillas’ is that Schmeichel had a decade of experience of pulling starfish moves and bellowing at his defenders before joining United in 1991 whereas De Gea has barely had two full seasons of top flight action.
However, that’s not to say that De Gea doesn’t have everything needed to succeed at Manchester United in the long term. The Madridileño’s rise to fame has been an incredible one with the 20-year-old beginning the 2009-10 season as second choice in Atlético’s second team before winning a Europa League medal for his club at the end of it. It was an goalkeeping crisis for the Rojiblancos that gave De Gea his first chance in a Champions League game against Porto in September 2009 when coming on as substitute for the club’s number two goalie, Roberto, whilst the number one, Sergio Asenjo, was on international duty with the U-21s.
One thing that De Gea is blessed with is a cool temperament and has been a continuously steady, unflappable presence both and off the field
Three days later, De Gea made his league debut against Zaragoza where he gave away a penalty but then proceeded to save it. For the rest of the year, De Gea fought off the challenge from Asenjo to become the club’s number one and even make it to the long list for Spain’s World Cup squad. Another season of consistency has piqued the interest of Manchester United whose scouts have been a fixture in the Vicente Calderón during a season that was tough for De Gea’s club but solid for the footballer, who played the most number of minutes of anyone in la Primera and made the most number of saves behind Atlético’s traditionally inept back four.
As a goalkeeper, De Gea is a tall one at six foot three - six foot five with his trademark blond fin - but is nevertheless extremely agile with lightening quick reactions. However, a lack of top flight experience and only being six months out of his teens sees De Gea lacking the confidence to dominate his defenders and box, but that’s something that is sure to come with time. “He’ll soon be fighting for my place, he’s a great keeper” predicted Iker Casillas to The Sun.
One thing that De Gea is blessed with is a cool temperament and has been a continuously steady, unflappable presence both and off the field at a club that former manager, Quique Sánchez Flores, described as being like an airplane permanently experiencing turbulence. Playing in front of 55,000 fans unreasonably demanding a top four finish whilst dealing with a Keystone Cops defence has never fazed De Gea who will positively enjoy the more sedate surroundings of Old Trafford in comparison.
“He does not worry when he plays against Barcelona or Real Madrid. That is a good sign because some goalkeeper become nervous when they play in front of big crowds in the biggest stadiums like Old Trafford,” claimed former Manchester United goalkeeper, Ricardo.
David De Gea may well need time and patience to settle in at Manchester United but nearly every striker and manager in Spain have sung the praises of a goalkeeper who they know already to be the real deal and who is good enough to make it all the way to the top.
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