David de Gea's rise from skinny teenager to the best goalkeeper in world football will go down in Manchester United's long and successful history.

After making a Premier League record 14 saves against Arsenal at the weekend, many have finally recognised the Spaniard as the best around and since his impeccable performance against Arsene Wenger's side, a story has since emerged of how Sir Alex Ferguson went to great lengths to sign De Gea.

In a column for The Daily Mail, former Manchester United goalkeeping coach Eric Steele has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson only missed two games during his 27 year reign at Old Trafford.

"I can only remember Sir Alex Ferguson missing two United matches. He missed a Manchester derby in 2000 for his son's wedding. The other time? To scout the brilliant David de Gea," Steele said.

"I was convinced that a 19-year-old De Gea was the right man to replace him. I showed a three-minute DVD compilation to Sir Alex and then we went to watch him play for Atletico Madrid at Valencia on the night United played Scunthorpe in the League Cup."

So Sir Alex went to great lengths to sign De Gea back when he played for Atletico, and Steele has revealed the traits both he and Ferguson were impressed with on that day in Valencia:

"Sir Alex knew he was the right signing inside 65 minutes. David showed composure, concentration and reflexes. He made one terrific save that went through a load of bodies.

People targeted David physically but we never changed our programme to improve him. We knew the strength and power would come. Sir Alex and I encouraged him the whole time. Sir Alex did not criticise him. Not once. He left him out at some stages and put him back in but he never shouted at him or put him down.

And just look at David now! His outstanding quality has always been his calmness and on Saturday night, amid all the penalty-box mayhem, he was a beacon of tranquility. He is the calmest man on the field."

Brilliant from Ferguson, Another reason why he was one of the greatest of all time. His attention to detail was incredible.

It just shows how important De Gea's potential was to Fergie and Steele. Now he is one of the best in world football.

They knew all along.

Jack Kenmare

Jack Kenmare is a writer at SPORTbible. He's interviewed some huge names in the world of sport, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pele, Carles Puyol and Tim Henman. He dabbles in all things sport, but football is his biggest passion. He was once hit in the head by a wayward strike from Nicky Butt and lived to tell the tale.

Next Up

arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up camera clock close comment cursor email facebook-messenger facebook Instagram link new-window phone play share snapchat submit twitter vine whatsapp safari-pinned-tab Created by potrace 1.11, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2013 ODDSbible safari-pinned-tab Created by potrace 1.11, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2013