David De Gea’s rise to prominence at Old Trafford has been remarkable considering the stick he received early in his Manchester United career.
Written off as an expensive dud, De Gea battled for his place in Sir Alex’s side and quickly proved his doubters wrong with a string of impressive showings that convinced fans and pundits that he was the right man for the job. He carried it on the following season and after lifting hsi first title, tasted personal success being named in the Premier League team of the year.
But why did United choose De Gea ahead of the numerous keepers touted after Van Der Sar’s retirement?
Speaking to Andy Mitten on the United We Stand podcast, former Manchester United goalkeeping coach Eric Steele lifted the lid on what made up his mind on the young Spaniard saying he first spotted De Gea whilst still at City at an u17 tournament.
He did a number of things that made him take note and having been watched by Sir Alex, Rene Meulensteen and Jim Lawlor amongst others, it was agreed that De Gea would be bought. But one moment in particular, during a tie at Anfield, confirmed for Steele that the Spaniard was the right man for the job:
“It was the (Europa League) semi final first league at Liverpool and in the first 20 minutes he at the Kop end, after 35 seconds he’s got a 1 on 1 with Dirk Kuyt and he stands up makes a save, ball goes over the bar, the ball comes in from a corner and he gets absolutely smashed by Jamie Carragher but punches it 30 yards.
“This is the first 5 minutes in front of the Kop, I could have walked out then, that was my mind made up.
“If he could do that at the Kop end, 19 years of age then he can handle playing at Manchester United.”