After a difficult start to life at Manchester United, David de Gea has reflected on the defining moment in his time at the club, when he saved a fantastic freekick from Juan Mata when he was at Chelsea.

De Gea believes that the faith that Sir Alex Ferguson showed in him made all the difference to his progress at the club.

It might have been the defining moment of my United career. From there, it got better and better. Juan is still pissed off about that one.

The second big moment was midway through my second season. I had been under pressure after a game at Spurs, where Gary Neville criticised me. I made a mistake late on but I’d made a hatful of brilliant saves that day. It doesn’t bother me. Neville was right about the error. It was snowing and I misjudged a cross.

Not long after, we were playing at Real Madrid. Ferguson brought me into the press conference in the Bernabeu. He told everyone, the British media, the Spanish media, that I had a special talent.

I remember what he said exactly. He compared me to a toddler taking their first steps forward. You wobble, get up, wobble, get up again and then you walk.

Ferguson ended that press conference saying, “The boy is walking now”. Ferguson sat next to me and told the world how much he believed in me. I felt emboldened. Ferguson was very patient with me. He did not shout and was never too harsh. He knew I needed time and trust.

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