David De Gea's old mentor to work with England under-21 captain Jack Butland

Eric Steele, the man credited with the huge improvements in Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, will get to work with Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland after his loan move Derby County.

David de Gea is now considered one of the top goalkeepers, not only in the country, but in the world and has unseated Real Madrid and Spanish legend Iker Casillas for the number one Spain jersey.

However, for those with a long memory, it wasn't always that way and former Manchester United goalkeeping coach Eric Steele knows all to well how hard it was to turn the Spaniard around and turn him into a world-class player.

''His [David de Gea] first six months were horrendous,'' Steele said in September 2013.

''One issue with him was that he was just 71 kilos. We worked with him on and off the field to make him more powerful. We changed his lifestyle. He would finish training and want to go home. When I told him to come back in the afternoon he would ask: 'why?' 

''There were lifestyle issues. He'd sleep two or three times a day. He'd have his main meal late at night. He'd eat too many tacos. We pushed protein drinks on him straight after training. We physically made him drink. We had him in the gym a lot. He hated it. They don't do the gym in Spain as much. We needed to build his core strength.''

The experienced goalkeeping coach fought tirelessly with the De Gea and in the end he helped produce one of the finest keepers of his generation. Now, he will look to have a similar impact on Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland. 

Unlike in De Gea's past, Butland has been touted as nothing less than a consummate professional with a bright future in the game, however, his big-money move to Stoke City looks to have stalled his progress. 

At Birmingham, Butland was tipped for the England team despite his young age and even went on to win a solitary cap. He then moved to Stoke and the chances dried up. Last season, he spent time out on loan to both Barnsley and Leeds United with neither loan spell covering him in glory. 

On Butland's signing, a delighted Steve McClaren was keen to indicate the impact Steele had on the decision.

Steve McClaren told dcfc.co.uk: 'We're extremely pleased to welcome Jack Butland to Derby County and I would like to extend our thanks to Stoke City for agreeing to let him join us on loan.

'Jack is a promising young goalkeeper and after Lee Grant picked up an injury on Saturday, as a management team, we quickly set about identifying someone to come into the group.

'We know a lot about jack and he is someone who Eric Steele rates very highly.' 

The short-term loan deal will likely hamper the impact Steele can have on Butland, but if he can help get the once touted future England number one back on track then he will have done a very good job. 

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