David de Gea has poured cold water on reports linking him with a move to Real Madrid by insisting he is happy at Manchester United.
After fantastic progression at Old Trafford, De Gea usurped Iker Casillas in the Spanish national side by making his full competitive debut in the last international break after Vicente del Bosque chose him ahead of the Real Madrid goalkeeper.
Subsequently, with Casillas’ position as first choice goalkeeper for Madrid also up for debate, De Gea has been linked with a move back to his native city but he has no intention of leaving Old Trafford any time soon.
“[They are] Just rumours. I’m happy here,” he told Kicker.
De Gea also downplayed United’s shaky start to the season under Louis van Gaal and made it clear what the focus was at United this year: “Starting problems are quite normal under a new coach with a complete new concept,” he added.
“That’s a process and Van Gaal always says that we will improve, but it takes time. But without a doubt, United have to reach the Champions League again.”
Following a tough settling in period, De Gea has gone on to become one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League and he has praised Sir Alex Ferguson’s man management in helping him overcome those times by learning how to use the criticism to make him stronger.
He said: “It was a difficult time but Sir Alex always backed me. He saved me from criticism and was patient until I was ripe for United,” added De Gea.
“Today I’m thankful for that [the criticism]. That made me stronger. Goalkeeper is tricky position. Mistakes are human. It’s about being up to that. If you make mistakes you will have to improve. Now I’m better.”
There is a feeling among United fans that over the course of time a return to Madrid is all but inevitable for De Gea given that it was the place he was born.
However, with the Spaniard happily settled at United and continuously improving, hopefully that is a long time away just yet.