Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has insisted that he’s learning plenty from fellow Old Trafford stopper Victor Valdes, with the pair currently vying for the backup position to Iker Casillas in the Spain squad.
Valdes was drafted in as De Gea’s number two by United boss Louis van Gaal in January having left Barcelona at the end of last season and become a free agent. Yet despite the fact that the younger man appears to have the position sewn up at club level, he’s admitted that he’s learning things from Valdes both on and off the pitch.
“Victor Valdes and I work very well together – I’m very happy to be with him," De Gea explained, as per FIFA.com.
"I’m learning so much from him, not just in goalkeeping terms given his immense experience, but also as a person. He’s a very straightforward guy with a lot of character. Moreover, he’s always ready to lend a hand, trying to help out with his advice, especially during games.”
Interestingly the mentor could well take his student's place if De Gea ends up leaving Manchester for the bright lights of Madrid in the summer. The interest coming from the Santiago Bernabeu is impossible to ignore as rumours infer that Casillas’ Real tenure is set to come to an end, and there’s no questioning the man Florentino Perez wants to replace his long-serving number one.
De Gea contract
Indeed it’s been purported that United are frantically trying to tie down De Gea to a new deal before the end of the season so that they can forget about the idea of losing him, but until it’s officially announced that the Spaniard has put pen to paper they’ll be unable to forego that possibility altogether.
Naturally fans are safe to assume that is exactly why Van Gaal hired Valdes, incase he loses his star man, as there’s few better backup ‘keepers in the world than the former Nou Camp hero.
Even Valdes though not might be able to soften the blow felt by De Gea’s departure. The ex-Atletico Madrid man has silenced early critics to become a major force in England, and his presence between the sticks is what many would pin United’s Premier League position on.
Benefitting De Gea
That doesn’t mean that he’s perfect however, and perhaps having an older, more experienced figure to guide him is what he needs to take his game to the next level.
After all De Gea has never benefited from a mentor, so to speak. At Atletico he was the first-choice from an early age during a period where their ambitions as a club were somewhat lower than they are under Diego Simeone, and he arrived at United just as the legendary Edwin van der Sar was hanging up his gloves.
United fans, do you think De Gea will leave the club this summer? Is Valdes good enough to replace him? Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments box below.