The 'Number 1' shirt at Manchester United has been a huge role to fill, since the great Peter Schmeichel ended his Old Trafford career with a magnificent Treble in 1999.  

The £505,000 Sir Alex Ferguson paid Brondby for Schmeichel back in 1991 has been described by the United manager in 2000, as the "bargain of the century".  

With the exception of Edwin van der Sar, United have not had much luck in the goalkeeper department.

Sir Alex paid a hefty fee of £18.5million for David de Gea in the summer of 2011, putting an end to long speculation surrounding the Atletico Madrid stopper, becoming the replacement for the retiring Van der Sar. Van der Sar was a big influence between the sticks for United, finishing his career with a Champions League Final against Barcelona.

With the praise for De Gea that came from Spain, it seemed that United had secured the signature of a future star, having been at Atletico since the age of 10, and representing Spain at every level from the Under 15s in 2004 right up to the Under 23s in 2012.  

With the likes of Iker Casillas and Pepe Reina, he has found it hard to break through into the senior national side, and with the criticism he receives here in England, his chances will continue to be limited.

The latest of De Geas mistakes came at White Hart Lane on the weekend, having punched a clearance to the feet of Aaron Lennon, who provided Clint Dempsey the pass for a late equaliser, and resulting in the lead at the top of the Premier League being cut to 5 points, after an earlier victory for Manchester City.

However, people have almost failed to notice the magnificent display he put in before the late equaliser, denying Spurs on a few occasions in the second half, most notably a one on one save from Dempsey, that saw him diving one way, then having the presence of mind to keep his eye on the ball, and save well with an out stretched leg. 

There is no doubting that De Gea still has a lot to learn over here in England, and with the pressures of playing for United, he needs to learn sooner rather than later. 

Despite having many critics, the Spaniard is still confident he is the number one at Old Trafford, De Gea said:  

"From the moment I signed I considered myself the first-choice keeper at the club but its down to the manager".  

Ferguson has rotated his keepers often this season and even with the increased speculation about his future, he went on to say: 

"Obviously I have played a few on the bounce now and that's positive.  For a goalkeeper its always important to have consistency and be playing regularly".

De Gea still has great potential to become one of the best keepers in the Premier League, but for this to happen he needs to realise that despite some impressive saves, moments like the one at White Hart Lane will bring him under fire for as long as they are costing his side points. 

 

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Topics:
#Premier League
#Manchester United
#David de Gea
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