Connect with us

Manchester United Players

Groundhog de Gea

Excuse me.....I'm better than I was 12 months ago! David De GeaIt’s been just 18 months since United found and signed the next ‘World’s Best Goalkeeper’ from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2011. Is it working out for club and player though? Are United facing the same hunt to fill the Number One shirt again, just 60 appearances later?

If rumours are to be believed, the relationship between United and De Gea is not one made in heaven. De Gea is seemingly ‘homesick’ and United are openly touting new keepers.

I’m not one to get on the backs of players just for the sake of it or because the player is the latest name heavily criticised on the media bandwagon, in De Gea’s case though, I’m accused of it.

Earlier in the week I took to Twitter to bemoan yet another De Gea clanger. “So, another Monday morning, another reason to slate the clown!” to which I was roundly attacked by many telling me I’m an idiot and how De Gea will be the greatest keeper the world has ever seen in a few years.

It’s fair enough I guess, calling a professional player a clown isn’t really the best term to use if you want to make a serious point. De Gea is obviously a very, very good goalkeeper.

However, no matter what language I used the fact remains that I believe De Gea isn’t up to the job now, today, this season, 2013. The common belief that one day he will – makes absolutely no difference to my opinion of what he’s doing on the pitch now.

De Gea seems to split opinion, but one thing the majority doseem to agree on is he will become one of the greatest keepers of all time. But is that enough to trust him as United’s No1 while he gets there?

Michael_CarrickPersonally I don’t think it is. I’ve criticised the club in the past for acting too late on transfers for obvious young talents, Michael Carrick for one. We hesitated with Carrick, let him move to Spurs then paid a huge amount over and above the original asking price to eventually prize him away from there. We should act like we did with Phil Jones and possibly how we are with Wilfried Zaha to bring the best young talent to Old Trafford before they’ve made their mark elsewhere and built up a heftier price tag.

The man between the sticks though is a different kettle of fish. To me the most important position to fill in any team, it has to be filled with quality on the day, not with a view to the future. De Gea was one for the future.

de Gea flappingBut having said that, I’m not suggesting De Gea isn’t a decent keeper, I just like keepers to catch a ball when it’s catchable, push shots away from danger where possible and physically dominate high balls. De Gea does none of the above. He flaps at simple catches, versus Newcastle and Liverpool he’s parried shots into the path of predatory opponents with little care for the consequences.

Yes the Newcastle one was far worse than the Liverpool one but both similar in design and outcome.

Gary Neville claimed the save vs Liverpool was ‘a good one’ while Peter Schmeichel labelled it a ‘fantastic save’.

Those two well respected figures obviously did me no favours, of course RedRants’ Twitter followers are going to put their (Neville & Schmeichel) opinion higher up the credibility scale than mine and tell me so, but are we living in a world where our opinion must match that of all respected TV pundits? I hope not!

I’m not having anything of what Schmeichel says, it was not a fantastic save. A fantastic save denies a goal and removes the danger. It was a fantastic ‘stop’ yes, but you stop shots in training, on matchday it’s about more than just stopping it. De Gea doesn’t even look like he’s trying to push it away from danger and that’s the most worrying aspect of it for me. Wake up Dave! For all you do well you do something else poorly without thought.

Sturridge De GeaNeville’s comment on the other hand, calling the save ‘good’ and blaming Rafael for his failure to react before Sturridge, I can have. It WAS good, but good isn’t good enough. Rafael switching off of course allowed Sturridge to finish it off, but that’s an entirely separate issue – Rafael does have form for switching off at the back-post though and therefore strengthens my case that De Gea should be aware of this and making every effort possible to tip the ball away from danger rather than just ‘stopping it’.

Footballers and professionals within the game stick together during and after their career’s so it’s no surprise Schmeichel guarded De Gea rather than tear a strip off him. I believe if Schmeichel was coaching De Gea he’d have had words with him privately come Monday morning regardless of his public TV backing.

Being linked with Asmir Begovic from Stoke City and Fernando Muslera from Turkish side Galatasaray amongst others, is proof enough that Sir Alex believes the young Spaniard hasn’t stepped up to the standards he requires, this also adds more strength to my case against those Twitterers who call me deluded and out of order for suggesting as such.

It felt like a strange decision at the time when SAF opted to persist with buying DdG despite his inability to persuade Edwin van der Sar to commit to another year. I think SAF banked on convincing van der Sar to stay thus having DdG in the wings for a season. With that plan scuppered by van der Sar’s decision to quit, it’s a mystery why the deal for de Gea went ahead when others, more experienced and proven options, were available.

Now we’re stuck at another crossroads with a decent shot-stopper who excels with the ball at his feet but struggles with basic goalkeeping skills like catching catchable balls. A keeper who, for all his great performances, could be remembered for all his short-comings and needless mistakes. A keeper who, let’s not forget, who’s also had one eye on the exit door throughout.

Were United right to opt for De Gea in 2011 at such an early age (for a keeper) with an eye to the future, or were there just no outstanding keepers out there bar de Gea at the time rendering the gamble one worth taking? Was it even a gamble in your eyes? It was in mine.

What would you do with De Gea now? Sell him if Madrid (or anyone else) are interested. Sell him to a less glamorous club with a sensible buy-back clause for the future once he has matured and developed into the best in the world? Loan him out perhaps?

Or is De Gea cutting the mustard for you? Do you think he is doing enough to warrant the No 1 spot?

Your thoughts please.