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De Gea: I’m Still First Choice

Since joining Manchester United, David de Gea has been under an incredible amount of pressure to perform, with every mistake scrutinised. Whilst other goalkeepers, like Joe Hart or Pepe Reina, have been guilty of several mistakes too, they tend to be brushed under the carpet. It’s the popular thing to do to have a go at De Gea.

This was taken to another level on Monday when Gary Neville went in to great depth looking at Spurs’ late equaliser. Whilst De Gea certainly has to take some of the blame for not doing enough to make sure he punched the ball well clear, he wasn’t the only one at fault. Rafael’s poor positioning allowed the cross to be delivered in the first place, whilst it was Nemanja Vidic who was blocking the goalie from making clean contact with the ball. Had Vidic not been in the way, De Gea could have dealt with the cross far more easily. Still, Neville opted not to mention these factors, and instead showed and slow motion replay of the “look” Vidic gave De Gea after the goal.

Both Andy Cole and Michael Owen, amongst others, took to Twitter to voice their opinion that the criticism was too harsh, which Javier Hernandez endorsed.

Whilst no one is arguing that De Gea shouldn’t be criticised when he makes a mistake, the levels it gets to now are out of control. Spurs could and should have scored two or three goals on Sunday and would have done if not for De Gea’s exceptional saves, but they are all forgotten.

With every man and his dog giving their opinion on De Gea’s situation at the moment, our Spanish keeper has spoken out on his feelings on his position in the squad.

“From the moment I signed I considered myself the first-choice keeper at the club but it’s down to the manager,” De Gea told the Daily Mirror. “He rotates us when he feels it’s good for the team. But obviously I’ve played a few on the bounce now and that’s positive. For a goalkeeper it’s always important to have consistency and to be playing regularly. It’s good for confidence and morale.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. UnitedFaithful says:

    Wasn’t De Gea bought knowing that he is yet to be the finished article?The main thing about a young player is his improvement and as long as he is grooming I have no problem with him staring.

    He has shown signs that he can be assertive in the penalty box this season and his decision making on crosses have improved.We have played with different CB s for the last couple of weeks and it is hard for a goalkeeper to maintain the same level of communication to each of them.

    Goes without saying that we need to find a constant center back pairing.The sooner the better.

  2. Wakey says:


    The ‘Kid’ was doing his job, the same time wasting Ball kids at all clubs do both here and abroad. So he was wasting time when Hazard gave him a push, he may have then made a meal of it to waste more time and perhaps all he wanted to do was get the ball back but neither is an excuse to kick him. Unless ofc its now perfectly fine to kick Hazard everytime Chelsea are winning and he goes down easy and stays down to waste time

    And Seriously lets look at some of the bans handed out then tell me that Hazard should only get 3 games

    Assaulting a Member of the public (closest we have to this incident really)
    Eric Cantona – 9 months

    Assaulting an Official
    Dicanio – 11 Matches
    Prutton – 10 Matches
    Batty – 6 Matches

    Assulating a Fellow player
    Barton vs City – 12 Matches
    Barton against Team mate when at City – 12 Matches and 4months in Prison
    Ben Thather Elbowing Mendes – 8 Games
    Viera spitting at Ruddock 6 Games

    Other Offence
    Keane for revelations in his Autobiography – 5 Games (ontop of the 3 he got for the tackle at the time)
    Vinnie Jones – 6 Months for doing commentary on a Football Dirty Tricks video

    He deserves a double figure ban and perhaps even a ban lasting many months seeing as he assaulted not a fellow player or even an Official or for that matter even a paid member of staff but a member of the public who volenteered their time

    Problem is if they had signed an Experianced goalkeeper then would DDG have got the games he needed. The reason Hart has gone on to become a decent keeper (although not as good as the English media claim) is he got games. There have been young English keepers who looked better than he did as a young player such as Kirkland, Wright, Carson and Foster who have been hindered by moving to a bigger club only to act as backup and not get the games needed to develop the important skills that only 1st team games at a high level can bring to compliment their talents. DDG if behind an experianced keeper who would have never been any better than a backup keeper as by the time he reached the point where he was 1st choice he would have passed the point where he could learn the skills needed to fulfil his potential

    “I think Neville’s finally lost patience with DDG’s weak punching”

    What Weak punching though? Its not like you could lineup 20 examples of weak punches from him. Its the same with the way that after his mistake against Newcastle where he should have pushed the ball wider that suddenlt everyone got on his back claiming he always does it when actually he is usually very good about getting it wide when its possible as he has very good hands, its usually only in exceptional circumstances (Such as Sturridges goal) where a shot has such power and he sees it late that its a struggle to even save it let alone direct it perfectly. In fact against spurs he had one of those where he was actually able to direct it enough that it made the followup chance very difficult and he was able to save it

    Personally I think Valencia was more to blame than Rafa. Rafa wins the ball but it bounces behind him, he knows where Valencia is and where the spurs player is and assumes Valancia should get to the ball as he should do with ease which would have allowed a break to occur and time to be wasted. Valencia is asleep but still has time to recover from his mistake but stays asleep so doesn’t close the Spurs player down and allows an easy cross. Closing the player down would have made the cross harder and probally given Rafa time to get into position. Knocking off is Criminal of a player of Valencias quality especially when only a goal up

  3. Wakey says:


    There has been a trend this season that the mistakes by DDG have often come when Vidic was playing and Vidic has been a direct cause of some of those errors. There seems to be a lack of understanding and trust between them which isnt the case with Evans for example.

    Vidic needs to put more trust in his abilities so as not to get in his way (after all Vidic is built like a Brick so even the strongest keepers will struggle if he gets right under them) and the two of them just need more time to build an undertanding

  4. Marq says:

    What’s with the judging players ability/potential by the number of trophies? They have no relationship with one another whatsoever

  5. LoneStarRed says:

    @ Wakey.

    An understanding MUST be hammered out between Vidic and DDG and that has not happened yet. The sooner the better. I agree with you on that.

  6. wayne says:

    Zibbie good to see you back mate hope everything is good did you make the move
    Wakey hi mate he wouldn’t have been a backup Utd paid 20 mill for him but having a old pro would’ve taken a lot of media pressure away and given him a chance to adapt.
    He’s a top quality shot stopper but hasn’t taken command of the defense or the box and its still a problem,doesn’t have any confidence in those areas,that’s the reason the defense is conceding to many goals

  7. LoneStarRed says:

    @ Wakey

    Yes I CAN line up 20 examples of DeGea’s weak punching of the ball ! He has improved but still has a way to go. And remember I still think he should start .

  8. LoneStarRed says:

    @ Zibbie

    Welcome Back !!

  9. WeAreUnited says:


    Of course it does not have to do alot, but when you talk about a 22 old keeper who was 19 or 18 when he won those tittles and by playing in goal, it tells alot.

    But foremost it tells that he has experience of big games and will do good here. Nothing more.

    It’s a different story, if a player not a goalkeeper has the CL medal but didn’t play even 1 match.

    DeGea was in goal at the age of 18-19 when he won those, so it tells, that the lad was ready at the very young age and has the ability to become of of the greatest!

    nothing more mate! peace.

  10. Wakey says:


    I can’t see your reasoning tbh. Who exactly are your proposing should have been signed as an old pro to act as backup? Either you are looking at a keeper who provides no real competition and I’m not sure how that really would help him or its someone who is good enough to be #1 in which case why would they sign to be second fiddle and if they did how would it bring any less pressure as anytime he made a mistake which at his age he would everyone would be saying “X should be playing” and he would constantly have that hanging over his head.Certainly that seemed like a major issue for Foster, knowing he had to be faultless when Edwin was injured it seemed to get in his head. Until that string of games he looked decent when he got a chance to play but its not good for a keeper knowing its now or never.

    There is a reason United didn’t sign him sooner so he could settle in as a backup for a season and that same reason is why they didn’t start actively recruiting a new starting keeper until Edwin decided he was quitting (Seems clear Lindegard was signed with the intention of being a number 2 as he was signed before Edwin had decided)

  11. UnitedFaithful says:


    Great post mate.

    DDG will be more confident once he gets to know his defenders well.Thats all the more reason to have a constant defense in front of him.About his parrying it goes both ways I think defenders should also shoulder some of the blame.The one most worrying aspect is our defense goes to sleep far too many times.

  12. UnitedFaithful says:

    Although rafael has come on by leaps and bounds this season and evra has found his old self but while defending they are often in the penalty box waiting for the cross rather than defending their natural positions.

  13. wayne says:

    Wakey think you’re missing my point Utd threw him in at the deep end last year when quite frankly he wasn’t ready and still isn’t to deal with the physical aspect of the prem.Why do you think Utd are conceding so many goals at set pieces and since Edwin retired Utd have gone from one of the best defenses to one of the worst.DDG is easily taken out just have to put someone in front of him .Goalies have to be strong enough to move upwards an forwards clearing out players in the process DDG mostly is just moving upwards not taking out anyone hence the flapping.
    There’s been plently of quality experinced goalies with a few years left that could have been signed as his mentor and eased DDG into the job over a couple of seasons instead of getting crucified by the press from day one and getting stuck with a label that he’ll have to live with
    DDG shouldn’t have been Utds number 1 last year and just because he’s played a lot means nothing when there’s been very little improvement in what is a flaw and gets exploited nearly every game

  14. murt73 says:

    Didn’t Van der Sar Want to do a u turn and stay on..Thought it was madness at the time not to keep him on for that role as I dont think he had lost it..

  15. Wakey says:


    Make up your mind. You said the experienced keeper would be backup to DDG and now you are saying he would have been first choice with DDG as backup.

    And seriously if you can’t see the difference first team games makes then I suggest you look at Rafael and Fabio. Fabio was always said to be the best of the twins by far but which player has learnt how to deal with defending in the EPL and which has learnt what is required physically. Rafeal ha bulked up in a way Fabio hasn’t and can deal with the physical nature much better and at this point is the better player by a million miles.

    DDG is a better keeper now than he would have been playing second fiddle

    Oh and your claim that he is at fault for all the goals conceded is ridiculous. Last season we had the most clean sheets in the league, Infact the only reason we didnt have the fewest goals conceded was the City game. The issue this season is a team issue not the keepers. Some of it is obviously the injuries but there seems to be other issues which sees us inviting more pressure than normal

  16. wayne says:

    Wakey haven’t changed my mind at all meant DDG wasn’t going to be backup in the literal sense because Utd paid 20 mill so eventually was going to be num 1 but a mistake was made by playing him right off the bat because he simply wasn’t ready,if you think different and he commanded the num 1 spot right out of the gate last season ok,we watched different games.Not having a experienced goalie last season probably cost Utd the title.
    WTF has Rafa or Fabio got anything to do with DDG ? Rafa has been with the club for years before establishing himself as a regular going to my point young players sometimes need to be eased in
    You seem to read things that are not there to make a point,please show me were i blamed DDG for all Utd goals?.made a point that there is a flaw in DDG’S game he’s not taking command of the box and if you don’t understand that also gives defenders jitters fair enough.This particular area of his game hasn’t improved very much regardless of how many games he’s played he still gets bullied that was the point i was making
    You pretty well took everything i said and made up answers to things i never said,want to have a discussion maybe read what someone is saying
    DDG is a top quality shot stopper i’ve already stated that but he has one flaw that teams are taking advantage of,so it doesn’t matter if he makes 10 great saves a game to be Utd’s goalie he has to start taking command of his defense and the box otherwise it’ll always be a issue

  17. fergie is the boss says:

    Wakey – DDG’s only weakness is not commanding of the area, his shot stopping ability has gone backwards a bit, we seen him save it, and spill into the danger area, he needs to work on that. Other than that, I think we have a top keeper, and the names linked with united are simply not good enough.

  18. Costas says:

    I made the same point as Wakey did on Sunday. De Gea and Vidic don’t seem to be on the same page yet. I went back to all the games they’ve started together. It’s 14 games. Most of David’s costly errors in his time at United have come in those games. 7 of them I believe.

  19. Wakey says:


    Fabio and Rafa are relevant because it shows the benefit of first team games. Rafa came back for the second season a completely different physical specimen compared to his first season, not quite at the level we saw change that summer he realised he needed to be stronger but not tha far off. Fabio however hadn’t and still hasn’t bulked up much.

    When you are playing in the reserves against teams made up largely of youngsters who lack 1st team experience and themselves are lacking physically doesn’t allow you to develop, its why clubs send players out on loan as they need to learn what’s needed to compete physically with adults.

    In training and reserve games he wouldn’t have learnt to command his area better and he has improved massively. Infact when Vidic isn’t in the team undermining him he hasn’t had issues with crosses in the same way he did last season. Vidic needs to either start trusting DDG or if he isn’t going to he has to deal with the ball as he is doing neither at the moment. After all Vidic is like a brick wall and most keepers in the world who try and go through him will come off second best including the majority of those we have been linked to

  20. WeAreUnited says:


    sorry Imissed your comment

    yeah I agree, and glad you’re the one who sees through this Nani MYTH of inconsistency :) !!!


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