David de Gea is one of the world’s best goalkeepers and has been a consistent figure for Manchester United over the past two seasons.
The former Atletico Madrid star was included in the PFA Team of the Year in 2012-13, and was honoured with both the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year and the Manchester United Players’ Player of the Year for the 2013-14 campaign.
Yet, for all his quality and calibre, the 23-year-old had not made his senior debut for Spain until Saturday. With the likes of Iker Casillas, Pepe Reina and Victor Valdes all going strong for La Furia Roja, De Gea simply could not make it into coach Vicente del Bosque’s plans.
However, a long-term injury to Valdes in March opened the window of opportunity for De Gea, who was included in Spain’s 23-man World Cup. On Saturday, he finally made his debut for the reigning European and world champions, coming on as a substitute against El Salvador.
De Gea replaced Spain captain Iker Casillas in the 83rd minute in Washington, where the Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 winners got the better of their opponents 2-0. David Villa scored both goals in the second half, as the 2010 World Cup winners geared up for the 2014 Brazil campaign in style.
Following the game, De Gea expressed his delight at finally making his Spain debut and posted the following message and picture on social networking site Twitter.
Otro sueño más que se hace realidad!! Another dream comes true!! pic.twitter.com/ODPHOvPTOG— David De Gea (@D_DeGea) June 8, 2014
De Gea has been earmarked as Casillas’ long-term successor in the Spain team and following his impressive performances for United in the past two years, it is only a matter of time before the 23-year-old becomes a regular for his country.