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Luis Enrique Reveals Reason Behind David De Gea's Spain Axe

Tom Horn

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Luis Enrique Reveals Reason Behind David De Gea's Spain Axe

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Manchester United’s number one David de Gea has been left out of Spain’s 24 man squad for the Nations League. 

The “La Roja” manager, Luis Enrique, has hinted at the 31 year old’s poor distribution and lack of an aerial presence being the reasons why he was not selected.

Although he is brilliant with his feet to save shots, one of De Gea’s glaring weaknesses is his passing out from the back.

Luis Enrique likes his players, including the goalkeepers, to be comfortable in possession and the United goalkeeper doesn’t fit this mould.

De Gea averaged a 69 per cent pass completion rate last season in the Premier League which is drastically below that of Unai Simón, who plays for Athletic Bilbao, who now looks like Enrique’s go to choice.

Simón averaged a 91 per cent pass completion rate in La Liga for the 2021/22 season. De Gea will need to drastically improve in this department if he is to push his way back into Enrique's World Cup plans.

In a recent press conference ahead of their Nations League clash against the Czech Republic, Enrique was quizzed about his goalkeeper selection.

"I'm looking to have three starting goalkeepers and I think I have them right now [in Unai Simón, David Raya and Roberto Sánchez], honestly." He stated. "I wouldn't have any problem playing any of the three.

“Unai accumulates an interesting experience. A goalkeeper must start the game and generate the first superiority, which dominates the aerial game.”

This could have been hard to hear for the United shot-stopper, who excels at making quick reaction saves, but has been targeted in the air by opponents throughout his career.

David De Gea punches clear against Crystal Palace | Credit: Alamy
David De Gea punches clear against Crystal Palace | Credit: Alamy

The Spain manager also stresses the importance that the goalkeeper has in ensuring calm around them. This is both in and out of possession, but the United goalkeeper is often criticised for his timid approach when looking to play out of the back, preferring to hit long when pressured.

“I need a goalkeeper to transmit peace and tranquillity to me, that doesn't mean that they don't fail, the mistake is part of football. I really like what they generate."

It will be difficult for the Spaniard to return to the fold before the World Cup in the winter. He conceded more goals than Raya and Sanchez last season, while also being inferior to them both in the pro-active aspects of goalkeeping.

It has been seven months since his last appearance for his nation and Enrique's comments suggest that he will have to wait even longer for his next call-up.

Despite winning Manchester United's Players' Player of the Year award for last season, the goalkeeper will need to improve in his all-round goalkeeping play if he wants to return to the 2010 World Cup winning side.

He will also be pushed to the limit by Erik ten Hag, who will likely want to play a dominant style of play, where his goalkeeper will need to be actively looking to prevent chance creation and improve his side's build-up.

United will not purchase a goalkeeper this summer, with other positions of a higher priority. That gives De Gea a chance to show that he can improve in these different areas.

Topics: David De Gea, Spain, Luis Enrique, Manchester United

Tom Horn
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