Date: 21st May 2012 at 6:13pm
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Having endured a tough start to his career, David De Gea has grown into his role as Manchester United’s #1.

His early errors became distant memories as he rose to the challenge, and by the end of the season, his development was one of the brighter spots in this season.

Replacing a keeper like Edwin Van Der Sar was never going to be easy and the shadow of the Dutch keeper loomed over De Gea at the start of the season, but as the season progressed De Gea came into his own.

Van Der Sar knows all about the effect comparisons with your predecessors can have and has backed the blossoming De Gea, to continue to flourish:

‘Maybe it was hard to follow in my footsteps.

‘It can happen. People got compared to Peter Schmeichel, now maybe it’s me.

‘De Gea has to ignore that and just play his own game.

‘Eric Steele, the goalkeeping coach, and the manager will both help him and hopefully next season he will be ready from the start.

‘He did get criticism last season but I made mistakes at Ajax when I was young, and also at Juventus and United,’ said Van der Sar.

‘The main thing is how you recover in the next game, or the game itself.

‘He did that. He became more important as the season went on and made good saves.’

Van Der Sar also spoke on the anguish of seeing City win the title with the last kick of the season and having been on the opposite side of such emphatic victories against them, it was a very bitter pill to swallow:

‘Whilst I don’t think they anticipated becoming champions, the disappointment at those final two or three minutes would have been great.

‘If you look at it, they did quite well. They got more points than last year and kept a lot of clean sheets, even with Nemanja Vidic out for so long.

‘To lose it in the last seconds must have hurt so much.

‘I remember a couple of years ago we seemed to have a run of games where we beat them in the last minute.

‘They just got a very big one back.’