When David de Gea arrived at Manchester United back in 2011, he was still a boy in goalkeeping terms. The physical nature of the Premier League chewed him up and spat him back out, much to the delight of the English press who systematically attacked his every mistake.
Fast forward to 2015 and De Gea is hardly recognisable. He’s no longer a shy and unassuming figure. Instead, he has become the commander of his own box and is rightly considered one of the world’s best goalkeepers. Quite the transformation given that he was written off only four years prior.
De Gea has had a phenomenal season with Man United but there was a great photograph from Spain’s game against Netherlands which summed up how just how far he has progressed.
Like Peter Schmeichel in his pomp, De Gea let his defence know, in no uncertain terms, that he wasn’t happy with them:
A younger De Gea would have shrugged his shoulders and pointed wistfully at his defence but now the Spaniard has the confidence to give them a piece of his mind. Given that he has only made a couple of appearances for Spain, the self-belief on show here is a testament to just how far he has come.
Earlier this week Daley Blind said he felt De Gea had got better in every way and he certainly has. He’s still got his natural shot stopping ability but now combines it with a real presence in the box, excellent distribution and everything else a goalkeeper needs.
Confident, commanding, strong and, most importantly, a top class goalkeeper, De Gea has fulfilled the potential which saw Sir Alex Ferguson choose him as Edwin van der Sar’s replacement and long may have his Old Trafford career continue (go away Real Madrid).