United stopper must hit the ground running, says Neville

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Gary Neville is confident that Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has what it takes to be a success at Old Trafford, following his £18.9million move from Atletico Madrid this summer.

The 20-year-old Spanish stopper has the unenviable task of filling the boots, and gloves, of the recently retired Edwin Van der Sar, who called time on his career at the end of the 2010-11 campaign.

Neville, who himself ended his playing days midway through last season, emphasised the importance of every new player getting off to a good start in their Manchester United careers, and backed De Gea to hit the ground running and prosper in his new surroundings.

"I think that the goalkeeper's spot is the toughest position on the pitch without a shadow of a doubt," he sympathised. "It is just about getting off to a good start, gaining confidence, getting used to a different culture and generally settling in.

"So in terms of hitting the ground running it is important for him [De Gea] to get a good start and particularly so at a club like United where the pressure and the expectations are so high.


"But you look at him and he looks as though he has got a very good temperament. He is good with his feet and has played in red-hot atmospheres in Spain already so playing for United shouldn't faze him."

Reflecting on the obvious comparisons that have been drawn between De Gea and his predecessor Van der Sar, Neville acknowledged the two players do have some similar traits, but reiterated the importance of the young Spaniard stamping his own authority on the No.1 spot.

"He does look very similar in his style to Edwin in the couple of games I have seen him play," he continued. "But Spanish goalkeepers have been the best in Europe for the last five or six years. It is a hot-bed for producing talent.

"I haven't seen a great deal of him but you see the success and top performances he has had in the Spanish league and the meticulous way the manager works and Eric Steele [United's goalkeeping coach] that he is cut out for United.

"They must have great confidence in his ability to be a Manchester United goalkeeper for many years to come."

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