Manchester United goalkeeper target David de Gea has revealed his admiration for the club's past greats in his position.
The Atletico Madrid stopper is poised to make a move to Old Trafford for a reported £18 million, although the player himself has put talk of a move to Manchester United on hold until after the European U21 Championships finish, a tournament which Spain are favourites to win.
However, the 21-year-old has admitted that he would love to emulate the recently retired Dutchman, who produced some his finest displays in the later stages of his career with Manchester United.
"It is now difficult to look that far ahead, but I would like to be as good as him in 20 years. It takes strength, luck and looking after your body because the game consumes you," the Daily Express report the player as saying.
In an interview with Spanish daily AS, he continues his praise for the former Ajax star: "Edwin has spent 20 years playing at the highest level. For me he is a reference and a great goalkeeper."
When questioned on which keeper he aimed to emulate most as a youngster, Manchester United and Denmark legend Peter Schmeichel was the first name mentioned by De Gea.
"I liked Peter Schmeichel, when he was at Manchester United. He’s the best I’ve ever seen," he continued.
"There is no perfect goalkeeper. Each one has flaws and virtues. Van der Sar was one of the best. But I also like Buffon, Casillas and Valdes."
Despite the constant speculation linking De Gea with a move to Manchester United, the player remains focused on the task at hand, and insists a move will not take place on July 1st when the transfer window re-opens despite Sir Alex Ferguson's efforts to push through the transfer.
"I try to stay focused on the tournament. It is important that the players only think about this and not things that are written in the media. It’s more the understanding that I need to be focussed on the European Under-21 Championships. Keep my head here and not anywhere else."