Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea is a man currently receiving plenty of plaudits. The Spanish goalkeeper was the Manchester United player of the month for October after a string of magnificent recent performances.
Now he is a man being praised as perhaps one of the best goalkeepers in the world along with the likes of Manuel Neuer, Thibaut Courtois and Hugo Lloris.
Of course, this has not always been the case.
When De Gea first arrived at United he struggled to win over the fans. His skinny physique and unimposing attitude saw him often criticised for performances on the pitch and he had to fight with Anders Lindegaard for the number one spot for a while.
|Position||Team||Season||Saves||Total High Claim||Punches||Appearances||Mins Played|
|David De Gea||GK||Man Utd||2011-2012||102||29||21||29||2,610|
|David de Gea||GK||Man Utd||2013-2014||99||32||14||37||3,330|
|David De Gea||GK||Man Utd||2012-2013||84||24||23||28||2,520|
|David de Gea||GK||Man Utd||2014-2015||24||8||0||11||990|
But the last few seasons have seen him blossom into one of United's most consistent performers. And Michael Carrick believes that rough start has helped him become a better player. The midfielder, who pulled out of the most recent England squad today through injury, believes not having it all his own way at the start has made De Gea a better player in the long run.
He told the official Manchester United website:
"He’s grown as a player. When he first came here, it was easy to forget how young he was. To be no.1 here at such a young age, he dealt with it unbelievably well. He had a tough first year but, in some ways, that probably helped him even more in coming through that. He’s just grown in stature – you can see in his demeanour and presence that he’s matured and just turned into one of the best goalkeepers around.”
Manchester United fans will hope he continues to grow into one of the world's best goalkeepers, perhaps even one day, the best.