“Edwin Van der Sar and Peter Schmeichel are legends in this club and that’s what I want.” Words spoken by David De Gea prior to helping his team to yet another victory at Anfield.
Time and time again, he has proven to be the one constant in a side that has struggled for stability at the back. Voted player of the year two years running by the United faithful and man of the match on numerous occasions for outstanding performances for his team.
All this has endeared him to the United fans. However, all that nearly changed at the end of last summer. Was there any doubt that he would renew his United contract? The answer is a resounding yes.
No one can really blame the Spanish keeper for almost joining Real Madrid last summer as he wasn’t the first and most certainly won’t be the last young player to have their head turned by the lure of the Spanish giants.
Consider for a moment what was on offer for the keeper. A return to not only his home country, but also his home city to play for a team that could guarantee rich rewards in not just financial benefits but also trophies.
In the end, for whatever reason was behind the decision, he stayed and penned a new lucrative deal at Old Trafford, much to the delight of van Gaal, his teammates and the loyal fans who never gave up hope of him staying. The saga had ended and De Gea could get down to the business of saving his team week in week out.
Sure, people doubted his loyalty to the club, but once he had committed his future to Old Trafford nobody could bring into question his professionalism whenever he pulled on the No:1 jersey. He clearly loves playing for the club and the fans as is shown in his wholehearted displays.
Brought to Manchester by Alex Ferguson as a skinny youngster back in 2011 he struggled at first with the expectations put on his narrow shoulders, but Fergie knew that he had unearthed a diamond that just needed smoothing out to produce a real gem.
Bullied, harassed and prone to being beaten from distance, it was a difficult baptism for the young Spaniard especially after he was ridiculed in the media every week. Criticism that would have crushed a lesser person.
However, after bulking up and getting his eyesight sorted out he has grown into a shot-stopper of world class proportions. It only needed time, which unfortunately Fergie didn’t have as his mentor and now other managers like Louis van Gaal are reaping the rewards.
The people who mattered, the coaches and the fans, saw his potential and stuck by him through his difficult times. It must be so gratifying for Fergie to sit watching in the stands as his protege fulfils all the promise that he had seen in him while monitoring his improvement at Atletico Madrid.
His name will always be the first on the teamsheet and if he continues to progress at his present pace, then there is no doubt he will become a legend at the club and for his home country. Unless, of course the vultures from Madrid come circling again.
De Gea is constantly posting images onto social media showing how comfortable he is in his adopted city of Manchester. He has also had his compatriots around him, including Ander Herrera and Juan Mata, who as a trio can often be spotted together out and about in Manchester even carpooling to training. De Gea’s love of heavy metal music is taken care of by the many concerts held at venues in and around Manchester.
At 25, his value to the side is not measurable in money, but quality, as United will hopefully retain his services for the full four years of his contract and beyond. Now, the hope is that after his commitment to the team they will be rewarded with a defence that will allow him to have more confidence in the players in front of him.
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