Former Manchester United goalkeeper Gary Bailey believes David De Gea has all the natural ability to replicate the success of two United goalkeeping greats, Peter Schmeichel and Edwin Van der Sar.
De Gea joined United last summer for a reported £18.9 million, the second highest fee paid for a goalkeeper in the history of the game.
The Spaniard initially had trouble settling at Old Trafford and briefly lost his place in the first team, however he finished the season strongly, pulling off a number of spectacular saves as United were just pipped to the Premier League title by rivals Manchester City.
The 21-year-old is seen as a long-term successor to Van der Sar, who hung up his gloves in 2011, and the club are hopeful the talented youngster can replicate the achievements of Schmeichel, who was a mainstay of the hugely successful United side of the 1990’s .
Bailey, who featured for United between 1978 and 1987, believes that De Gea demonstrated last season that he could be the long-term solution to United’s goalkeeper woes, and said he was also impressed with young ‘shotstoppers Ben Amos and Anders Lindegaard, who he believes can push De Gea for a starting spot.
“United are very well stocked; they’ve got three very good goalkeepers,” the South African told ManUtd.com. “Ben Amos has had a couple of games and I’ve been very impressed whenever I’ve seen him play. Anders Lindegaard looked really solid and reliable until he picked up an injury last season, and David De Gea has got a lot of talent.
“David is still very young and will mature – which a goalkeeper needs to do quickly – but with Eric Steele and the manager working with him, he is potentially one of United’s great goalkeepers. There could come a time where we’re talking of him in the same breath as Schmeichel or van der Sar.”
He added: “De Gea is the one who has the jersey at the moment, and the important thing for him was that he showed a lot of improvement during the course of last season.”