Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has been one of David De Gea’s greatest critics at Old Trafford.
Neville has ripped into the Spanish number one on Sky’s Monday Night Football frequently since the goalkeeper moved to England, but last night before the Everton and QPR game, he explained how De Gea has changed as a goalkeeper.
Neville conceded that his opinion of United’s number one had completely changed.
“When he first joined you could see a real nervousness in his game – He looked unsure of himself,” said Neville on MNF on Sky Sports.
“Look at performances from previous seasons – He goes back, he comes forward, he goes back – He didn’t know where he was meant to be.”
“What’s changed is he’s standing firm, standing tall and saying ‘go on then, beat me’ – He’s winning game after game after game for Manchester United at the moment.”
De Gea has proven to be United’s key player on several occasions this season, pulling off big saves when his team have needed it most.
He prevented several Arsenal players from scoring, pulled off one of the saves of the season against Stoke City and defied Liverpool’s attack consistently during United’s 3-0 win last weekend.
The problem for Louis van Gaal is why his goalkeeper keeps getting put into positions where he’s exposed.
United have found it difficult to name a settled defence this season due to injuries, with players caught out of position and general inexperience in their back four.
One of the main problems is that United get caught high up the pitch, with the central defenders exposed and that allows sides that face United to exploit them on the counter attack.
Neville’s comments suggest that De Gea could be the difference at the end of the season whether the side is fighting for the title or whether United are after a Champions League spot.
Long may his form continue.