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David de Gea has become one of the more polarising figures at Manchester United over the last few seasons, with opinions on him ranging to both ends of the scale.
The Spanish goalkeeper has been at the club for over a decade now since his transfer from Atletico Madrid in 2011 for what was a reported £18.9 million fee.
Since this move, De Gea has made an incredible 487 appearances for Manchester United, with the player looking set to smash past the 500-game mark next season and enter into the club’s top 10 of all time appearance makers once he surprises Joe Spence’s record of 510 games.
A lot of the controversy surrounding David de Gea in recent seasons has been born from the argument that he is not a ‘modern’ goalkeeper, as fans argue that he doesn’t play off his line, collect crosses or become part of the team’s build-up phase like so many other ‘keepers are becoming accustomed to doing.
However, the latest reports suggest that the No.1 is keen to learn and adapt his game under new manager Erik ten Hag, who’s possession-based football will put the limits of De Gea’s footwork abilities and non-shotstopping aspects of the game to the test.
It has also been reported that De Gea has been “disheartened” by some of the past goalkeeper training at Manchester United, most particularly when ‘high-profile’ coaches have arrived and have not had much significant impact in taking his game to the next level.
🗞 Those close to David de Gea are certain he will be open to learning, and adapting to Erik ten Hag’s style. [@polballus]— Utd District (@UtdDistrict) June 17, 2022
David de Gea has won a Premier League title, FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League trophy during his time at the club, however what sums up the player’s time at Manchester United best is his four Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year awards.
As a goalkeeper, he has been voted as the best player at the club across a season in four separate occasions due to his heropics in net during a period of turbulence and failure at the club – often a shining light during some dark times.
Speaking on the fame he has had to adapt to deal with being one of the club’s best players throughout the last decade, David de Gea spoke to Game of Thrones acros John Bradly on the matter.
“When you’re famous – like an actor or footballer – and they know you nearly everywhere, you have to live with this,” said De Gea.
“At the beginning, it’s a bit tough and a bit strange. You lose a bit of your privacy but that’s life.
“You have to deal with that and that means you are doing very well. That’s great as well.”
David de Gea has definially had his ups and downs in recent seasons. Last year, he was displaced as the club’s first choice goalkeeper by Dean Henderson in February after a string of poor performances, and in the 2020/21 season it was him who missed his penalty to lose Manchester United the Europa League final against Villarreal.
However, the season just gone saw David de Gea retain his place on the throne of Old Trafford’s penalty area and get back to his shot-stopping brilliance; but many fans are still unconvinced as to if it is the wisest choice to keep the ‘keeper in goal for the coming season.
“You make one very good season then people want you to be even better than the one before,” De Gea explains. “So the pressure is there and that’s probably a good thing and a bad thing at the same time.
“But that makes you feel alive and makes you try to improve yourself.”
David de Gea will have the chance to improve himself once again during Manchester United’s pre-season tour, set to start under Erik ten Hag on 26 June for those players, including David de Gea, who did not take part in the most recent international break.
The club will fly to Bangkok to face Liverpool on 12 July in the first of six pre-season friendlies, before heading over to Australia to play Melbourne Victory, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa.
The side will then head back to Northern Europe to face Atletico Madrid in Oslo on 30 July, before a fixture at Old Trafford the next day against Rayo Vallecano sees the club wrap their pre-season tour up before kicking their Premier League season off against Brighton & Hove Albion on the 2022/23 opening weekend.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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