David De Gea has waited four years but finally looks set to play his first game for Spain.
Not many players came out of last season with much to be proud of at Old Trafford - David De Gea was perhaps the minority. The Spanish goalkeeper had a good term in the United sticks, and was rightly voted player of the year at the club earlier this month.
De Gea, a £17.8 million signing from Atletico Madrid in 2011, had struggled with the more physical nature of English football in his first season at the club - but has truly come on leaps and bounds to be considered one of the best in the league right now.
However, despite his talent and excellent form, he has never played international football for his country. The Spaniard has represented his nation at every youth level from under-15 to under-23 - so he is certainly on the national team radar - but he also has illustrious competition.
He has had to play fourth fiddle to Iker Casillas, Pepe Reina and Victor Valdes for some time now and rightly so, all three are excellent players.
However a stroke of misfortune for one man has given him a chance to make it to Brazil. Barcelona stopp Valdes suffered a serious knee injury earlier this year, ruling him out of the competition.
De Gea is therefore the natural choice to play back-up to Reina and Casillas - and on Friday he might finlly step out for the first time and make his full international debut.
Spain take on Bolivia this week and De Gea, who first received a call up to the full national squad in 2010, is expected to play some part in the match. He has been speaking about that thought in a press conference before the game:
“I’m really looking forward to making my début, although I know I’m up against other great goalkeepers. I’m really enjoying this opportunity. There’s a lot of speculation about who will be going, or not. There’s a number of players with knocks and we can only wait until the manager makes his decisions.”
De Gea is right to be excited. Casillas and Reina are not getting any younger and De Gea is the future of the Spanish national team. He must get it right on the night when he is called into action, but based on the form he showed last season, Spain's goalkeeping success is in safe hands.