Manchester United goalkeeping legend Edwin van der Sar has lauded United’s current goalkeeper David de Gea for his form in the 2012/13 season.
The season not only saw Manchester United reclaim the Premier League title from rival Manchester City and win it for a record 13th time in 21 seasons but also saw rapid improvement in performances from De Gea by virtue of which he has now firmly established himself as United’s first choice goalkeeper.
De Gea was criticised from vast sections of the media on his performances and his seemingly inability to deal with the physical nature of the Premier League earlier on in his United career but consistently assured performances by the Spaniard has not only seen him improve vastly on the pitch but De Gea was also recognised by his peers when he was selected in the PFA Team of the Year.
Van der Sar, whose retirement from football paved the way for De Gea, left United’s new goalkeeper with some very large gloves to fill. But after seeing De Gea’s performances on the pitch Van der Sar feels the younger United custodian is well on his way to fulfilling his immense potential.
Van der Sar told Manchester United's official site: “I think that is the way everybody has seen it.
“The first half of the season and the year before, there were some mixed feelings and the gaffer changed it up a little bit to play Anders Lindergaard for three or four games.
“But then David came back in and we stuck with him. From that point, his performances grew and he became more important to the team all of the time.
"It has been a good turn around for him in terms of his performances and his own self-confidence in being the Manchester United goalkeeper.
“Of course, the PFA recognition was great but the main thing you want is to win the Premier League. Personal accolades are nice but the main thing is winning something with the team. That was always my preferred choice.
“As long as your team-mates are happy with you and your manager plays you every week, those are the best accolades you can get. Of course, after you win the league it is nice to look at individual trophies, but the team always comes first.”
Van der Sar now feels that the next step up for this young United squad and their goalkeeper is to establish themselves on the European stage and win the UEFA Champions League.
“So I think the next step for the whole club, and for David, is to establish themselves among the elite in Europe. In five years, we reached three finals, a semi-final and a quarter-final so it would be nice to reach that level again.”
With Van der Sar’s immense contributions to the club are now a thing of the past the club must focus on the future and continue to challenge for all the major trophies on both the domestic and continental stage.
And with United’s young goalkeeper improving in leaps and bounds there is certainly a feeling of optimism amongst the United fans that they have another star within their team and maybe just maybe a legend in the making.
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