David de Gea, our No.1 goalkeeper, is one of the world’s best goalkeepers out there. de Gea replaced the retiring Manchester United legend, Edwin van der Sar, in the squad at a very young age. And has been very consistent since. He has carried United single-handedly post the Alex Ferguson era. Along with the club’s senior man Wayne Rooney, de Gea helped keep United at a commendable position even with an average squad ahead of him. Even after Rooney’s departure, he has kept his standards and has been a revelation at the goal post for United. This edition of Tactical Masterclass covers the Spaniard, David de Gea.
David de Gea started his football career at the youth academy of Atletico Madrid in 2003 at the age of 13. He quickly developed at the academy and made his way through the youth ranks. De Gea caught a lot of attention with his performances in the youth team and thus signing his first professional contract in 2008. Dave played in the Segunda Division B with Atletico Madrid B in the 2008-09 season. At the end of the season, a lot of clubs were after him, but Atletico managed to reject them.
First team call up
David de Gea was initially the third-choice keeper for Atletico Madrid, but with the international duty of Sergio Asenjo, de Gea was called upon as a backup to Roberto. He made his first-team debut after Roberto sustainable an injury in the 27th minute of the match. Though Atletico lost that UEFA Champions League group stage match against Porto 2-0, de Gea had put on a good performance. With an injury to the first-choice keeper, it meant de Gea would start for Atletico in the next La Liga match against Real Zaragoza. Eventually, during the 2009-10 season, Dave made some valuable appearances for the club and ended the season as Atletico’s No.1 goalkeeper.
This season saw de Gea become a regular keeper for Atletico playing every league game for the club. With his increasing popularity, Sir Alex Ferguson was reported to have missed a Manchester United match to watch de Gea. His excellent performances throughout the season made him look like the right successor to Iker Casillas for Spain. The then manager of the Spain national team Vincente del Bosque referred de Gea as the future of the team.
Manchester United Career
With legendary Manchester United keeper Edwin van der Sar announcing his retirement at the end of 2010-11 season, lots of speculations were around Dave. Eventually, United signed David de Gea from Atletico for a record £18.9 million.
“De Gea is high, has good feet, comes with authority and is agile… has everything to be one of the greatest goalkeepers in the next ten years.”Van der Sar on de Gea in 2011
First season at United
Dave’s first season at United went pretty well with him making a good number of appearances for the club. During this time, de Gea had already made several match-winning saves against big teams like Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, etc. He faced a dip in form through the middle of the season when United lost 6-1 to arch-rivals Manchester City and 3-2 to Blackburn Rovers. This resulted in him being replaced by backup keeper Anders Lindegaard. But an injury to Lindegaard brought de Gea back into the starting lineup. With a string of good performances, de Gea ended the season with 8 clean sheets out of the last 19 matches.
With a ‘not so great’ start to his life at Old Trafford, De Gea started his Manchester United journey. He later admitted that he felt like leaving the club after being dropped from the first team in his first season. Throughout the years, de Gea grew into the keeper he is today. Gaining confidence from match-winning performances and positive response from fans and critics. All these helped de Gea emerge into a world-class goalkeeper.
The seasons from 2013-2018 saw the emergence of David de Gea as a world-class goalkeeper and being considered as one of the best. Being the part of a mediocre Manchester United team, de Gea was the standout performer for United during these years. David won several individuals awards and was the only player from United in the PFA Team of the Year for 2014-15.
The transfer window before the 2015-16 season saw de Gea being sold to Real Madrid for £29 million which included the arrival of Keylor Navas. However, the deal didn’t go through and de Gea eventually signed a 4 year deal with United.
The 2019-20 season has seen a drop of form by the Spaniard. Lack of concentration resulting in silly mistakes and thus silly goals. De Gea has seen a lot of cticism this season for his mistakes. But he has also produced some of his iconic saves as well. Dave signed a new 4-year contract with United after the start of the season. With Manchester United academy graduate Dean Henderson performing exceptionally well at Sheffield United as a loanee, there are a lot of talks going on about Dean replacing David next season.
Style of Play
David de Gea is one of the coolest between the posts. And at that position, you always need someone as calm and composed as him. He is known for his athletic saves with feet, as being unorthodox, yet effective. This style of goalkeeping has changed the future of goalkeepers. De Gea has great reflexes and agility between the posts, which helps him in making crucial saves.
David has consistently been performing brilliantly for United. And is a great leader on and off the field. He has also captained United on several occasions. De Gea has worked hard on his aerial prowess and has improved very much since his arrival in 2011. Handling, command of his area, decision making, and ability to come out and claim crosses are some qualities he has gained with his experience.
De Gea also plays the role of a sweeper-keeper very well as he can come rushing off his lines in 1v1 situations. His ball control and vision are vital in starting an attack from behind.
De Gea’s Achievements
Here, we cover some of de Gea’s achievements with each team he has played for:
Some of David’s trophies with Atletico Madrid are :
- UEFA Europa League: 2009-10
- UEFA Super Cup: 2010
Some of David’s trophies with Manchester United are :
- Premier League: 2012-13
- FA Cup: 2015-16
- EFL: 2016-17
- FA Community Shield: 2011, 2013, 2016
- UEFA Europa League: 2016-17
Also Read : Bruno: Excited a lot to play with Pogba
With de Gea slowly losing his A-game, he has started committing more mistakes than he ever has for United. Though we feel that Dave still has around 2-3 years in him and during this time Henderson can develop and be ready to replace de Gea.
What do you think about David? Do you want de Gea to be replaced by Deano the next season? Or do you wish to give him another season to prove himself? Do let us know your thoughts on the Spaniard.
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