Manchester United have had their fair share of goalkeeping legends in the past, but they don’t come much greater than Alex Stepney.

The Surrey born shot-stopper played over 400 games for the Red Devils in an era in which United became the first English team to win the European Cup – in 1968 – with Stepney performing heroics in the Wembley final to deny Eusebio’s Benfica.

A young man who retains the ambition to be the next gloveman to lead United to European glory is recent acquisition David De Gea, who moved to Old Trafford from Atletico Madrid for the princely sum of £18 million last week.

And Stepney has seen enough from the 20-year-old Spaniard so far to suggest he has the potential to establish himself as Sir Alex Ferguson’s first-choice for many years to come.

"He's done very well for Atletico," Stepney told ManUtd.com. "His record last season [24 clean sheets in 45 games] is incredible in a top-class league. I've only seen him on TV and you can't tell everything about a player on TV.

"For example, I always like to see what a goalkeeper's doing position-wise when the ball's down the other end of the pitch and the cameras rarely show that.




 

"But certainly I've seen what a good shot-stopper he is and it would seem that he's going to be Sir Alex's no.1.

"We've also still got Anders Lindegaard, Ben Amos and Tomasz Kuszczak on the books, of course, and one of them will have to leave, either on loan or permanently.

“A club like Manchester United has to have three top-class goalkeepers because if your first-choice gets injured, you need quality cover in the team and on the bench.”

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