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De Gea is one of the best shotstoppers in the Premier League but his ability with the ball at his feet has been questioned this season.
The Spain international isn't known for his distribution or building from the back but he had the chance to do so against Norwich.
Diogo Dalot played the ball back to de Gea who had time to pick out captain Maguire to his right.
DDG saw Maguire on his right and decided to kick the ball other way. Good decision 💯 https://t.co/f0hbRmrkDS— harjeet (@randhawamufc) April 16, 2022
Instead, he saw Teemu Pukki pressing and decided to kick it out for a throw-in.
Cameras then caught a furious de Gea looking to be in conversation with Victor Lindelof before turning his back.
Maguire is comfortable in possession but is having a poor season by his high standards.
Supporters believe de Gea made a conscious effort to put the ball out of play as a 'safe' option.
One commented: "Don't blame de Gea at all for that."
Another added: "I'd have probably done the same thing."
A third put: "Didn't think of it this way but yeah."
While someone tweeted: "People don't get that this thing matters a lot. When you can't trust your defender, a lot is wrong already."
Cristiano Ronaldo's 50th club hat-trick ensured United remain in the top four race.
The 37-year-old turned home his first of the game seven minutes in after a mix-up in the Canaries defence, before heading home a second after 32 minutes.
Kieran Dowell would half the deficit just before halftime and Pukki converted an equaliser early in the second half.
De Gea kept United level with a fine save from Milot Rashica before Ronaldo stepped up to rifle home a free-kick.
It was his first free-kick back in England and his first in general since July 2020.
United interim manager Ralf Rangnick paid tribute to de Gea's performance despite Ronaldo's hat-trick.
He explained per Manchester Evening News: "The 2-0 lead should’ve made life easier for us.
"But it didn’t because we didn’t defend well. Both goals we should’ve defended much better and David de Gea kept us in the game with a brilliant save.
"If not for David De Gea we could have been 3-2 down, and then probably even lost the game. This should not happen. All respect to Norwich, I know there are no easy games in the league, but we have to defend better than we did today.
"Even more so if we think about the next two or three games."
United sit fifth in the league and return to action on Tuesday evening against bitter rivals Liverpool.
They're three points outside the top four following Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal's defeats on Saturday.