He shares his birthday with Madame Curie and Joni Mitchell, so he must come good eventually, but it’s not all been bad. In this piece I take a brief look at David de Gea, and how he has settled in the jungle that is the Premier League.
David de Gea has the [mis] fortune of being Man Utd’s most expensive goalkeeper, and the most expensive in the Premier League by some distance. He cost a not inconsequential £18m or so. This, as well as Utd being amongst the biggest clubs in world football, has put great pressures and expectations on a man that is not even 22 yet.
Under most other circumstances an allowance would be made when one moves to a new country, one which brings with it an entirely new culture, weather, lifestyle, and that’s without mentioning the language. But with De Gea every mistake has been pounced on, by both fans and the media. Opposition fans are quick to laugh at the fee when he does make a mistake, perhaps thinking he has to repay his fee within 12 months or Fergie will cut off his balls. The media are the media, it is what they do – they’ll do whatever it takes to get hits or sell papers. They will jump on mistakes more readily than mention saves, even ones that occurred in the same match!
So, how has De Gea settled in the jungle that is the Premier League? Rather well, actually. Yes, he has shown himself to be imperfect, but who is perfect? Can he improve? Of course he can, and he will. He is weak in aerial challenging situations, but he wouldn’t have much experience given the differences between La Liga and the Premier League. Coaches will be working on this with him. Communication is a concern, but I don’t think he has a BA in English so it was always going to be a concern in his first year. It is generally taken his species, the goalkeeper, don’t peak until their mid-late twenties, and he has some of the best coaches available at Utd, he will be taught well and given game time too. He has shown glimpses of the massive potential that saw Fergie splash out to bring him to Old Trafford. He has made some absolutely stupendous saves, especially in the recent Chelsea game.
One other thing he can improve upon is that facial hair. Just get rid of it. Please, David, if you’re reading this, just get rid of it.