Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea passed the milestone of 400 Premier League appearances in the weekend’s win over Leeds United.
Having arrived from Atlético Madrid in 2011, the Spaniard won a Premier League title and was United’s Player of the Year four times in five years from 2014-18. He remains the first choice more than a decade since his arrival and it seems likely that he will sign a new deal with his current deal expiring in the summer.
The Premier League and the game in general has evolved since De Gea arrived on these shores 12 years ago and there are still some questions for the goalkeeper to answer. But he retained his place with Erik ten Hag and established himself as the club’s number one. We take a look at how things are with the goalkeeper on and off the pitch.
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De Gea is a world-class goalkeeper and there are countless examples from his Old Trafford career where he has earned valuable points for United. He suffered from poor form after the 2018 World Cup, possibly costing United a Champions League spot in the 2018/19 season, but his form picked up and he has been United’s undisputed number one. during the last two seasons.
So far this term, he has kept nine clean sheets, the second most in the league, and has made world-class saves to deny Joe Aribo (Southampton), James Maddison (Leicester) and Declan Rice (West Ham), ensuring that United secured 1-0 wins in all these games.
Ten Hag likes his team to play from behind, which means the goalkeeper must be comfortable with possession, or he leaves United susceptible to a team that pushes too hard. De Gea has improved throughout the season with the ball at his feet, but he is far from the finished article.
His completion rate of 40+ yards is just 31 percent and he can invite United opponents. It means that sometimes ten of Hag’s men play a long time, as was the case in his derby day win over Man City. The ability to consistently beat the press would transform United’s build-up game and give them more variation.
command of your box
A key change under ten Hag has been for United to adopt a taller defensive line, which leaves more space behind and places a greater emphasis on goalkeeper positioning and decision-making.
De Gea is not a libero-style goalkeeper, he ranks 26thhe percentile of defensive actions outside the penalty area, with just 0.84 per 90 minutes. His decision-making inside the box is often criticized as well, while he also doesn’t dominate his box from crosses as well as the others.
Role in the club
Of course, it’s not just about the field attributes. Off the pitch De Gea has a leadership role within the club and is one of the most experienced players in United’s dressing room.
He and Phil Jones are the only players at the club to have won the Premier League and the Spaniard is one of the few to win a trophy for Man United. He has the respect of his teammates, while the goalkeeper has always spoken honestly in interviews.
After United’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace last week, De Gea was asked about his contract negotiations, saying “we’re still talking” and “it’s going to end on a good note”.
Although he is free to sign a pre-contract with a foreign club, everything seems to indicate that he wants to stay at Manchester United. With ten Hag’s side starting to show signs of competing for the biggest trophies, this comes as no surprise. De Gea is still a top-quality goalkeeper, but if he can adapt to the ‘modern’ style of football, which ten Hag is trying to implement, it will be a new challenge as long as he puts pen to paper on a new deal.