Name: David De Gea
Date of Birth: 7/11/1990
Former Clubs: Athletico Madrid
League Appearances (Goals): 172 (0)
International Appearances (Goals): 3 (0)
Stat of the Day David de Gea has made more saves with his feet than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League this season
Player Profile: For all the £145 million spent, oh-so-innovative 3-5-2 formations, European-free midweeks and irritating whining over the festive fixture list from their super-star manager, it seems Man Utd are in very much the same place they were last season. 37 points after 21 games a year later, and it seems the only shining light from Old Trafford to have enhanced his reputation and progressed in the past twelve months is United`s number 1, David de Gea. Countless times this season the 24-year-old goalkeeper has come to United`s rescue, banishing any doubts over his lightweight and nervy past, saving almost certain goals as well as the backs` of his feeble defence. Whilst world football has been drooling over Manuel Neuer`s precarious ‘sweeper-keeper` role, de Gea has been steadfastly improving all aspects of his game, fronting recent rumours of a big-money move to Real Madrid.
The great Premier League teams of the past – United in `99, Arsenal in `04 and Chelsea in `05 – have all had world-class custodians, Schmeichel, Lehmann and Cech respectively, at the helm. And whilst van Gaal`s work in progress appears to be taking a measured approach, it is clear de Gea must spearhead the project the Dutchman has undertaken at Old Trafford. The shot-stopper`s progress has rapidly increased since his arrival in England and with more experience, coaching and protein shakes the Spaniard`s influence in the game will only gain momentum. Whether that is at United or abroad remains to be seen, though.
Born in Madrid, David De Gea joined Atlético Madrid at the age of 13. He made his way through the youth ranks at the club before signing his first professional contract in 2008, aged 17. He was approached by numerous clubs with a view to a possible loan deal, but having spent time featuring for Atlético`s B side, he forced his way into the first team, making his debut as a substitute aged 18. He made his first league start a few days later, saving a penalty on his debut.
The Spaniard finished the 2009/2010 season as Madrid`s number 1 and helped Los Colchoneros to the 2010 UEFA Super Cup. He played in every La Liga game en route to a seventh placed finish for Madrid in 2011, leading to rumours of replacing Manchester United`s retiring Edwin van de Saar. In June 2011 it was confirmed de Gea had signed for United in a British record fee for a goalkeeper of around £17.8 million, having made just 57 league appearances in Spain.
De Gea made his United debut in the Community Shield but went on to endure a tough time in his first season in England, receiving criticism from numerous members of the press. He has since matured into one of the Premier League`s best goalkeepers with over 100 league appearances to his name at the age of just 24.
One to Watch – David de Gea
Name: David De Gea