David de Gea arrived in England from Spain in 2011 with a reputation of being arguably the best young goalkeeper in Europe. The Spaniard had made 19 La Liga starts for Atletico Madrid in 2009-10 and in the following season he started all 38 of his side’s league matches.
The youngster was set for stardom and playing under Sir Alex Ferguson was going to make him even better. However, in his debut season at Manchester United in 2011-12, he made a number of errors, leading many to dismiss him as just another overhyped, underachieving young player.
Since then, however, De Gea has recovered his confidence and has established himself as the Red Devils’ undisputed number one between the posts. So much so that the 23-year-old was honoured with the Manchester United Players’ Player of the Year and the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year awards for 2013-14, and was included in the Premier League PFA Team of the Year last season.
The stats below from this season sum up just how good a player he has been for United in a torrid 2013-14 campaign.
|David de Gea||Man Utd||GK||99||37||3,330|
Interestingly, De Gea has yet to make his debut for the Spain national team, although injury to Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has seen him make it as the third-choice custodian for the defending European and world champions' World Cup squad.
So how has someone so young and who was so heavily criticised in his first season in England come all this way? De Gea’s Manchester United teammate Juan Mata explains that his Spain international colleague never allows himself to get affected by mistakes he makes on the pitch, and this is the main reason why he has bounced back in the Premier League.
‘He has huge faith in himself, which is a really important virtue’ The Guardian quotes the 26-year-old midfielder as saying. ‘He doesn't let anything affect him... It's a great quality. He's very calm. At times it seems almost like it's unconscious but that's a good thing’.
De Gea is really a brilliant player and one of the few bright sparks that United have had in a disastrous 2013-14 season. While the Red Devils need to reinforce their defence, midfield and perhaps even their attack, there is one area they do not need to worry about for years to come. And that’s the spot between the posts.