By the end of Sunday afternoon, Man United had thrashed Everton 4-0 at Old Trafford, but without the unparalleled reflexes of De Gea, the Toffees could well have equalised in the second half.
The 26-year-old has had a phenomenal start to the season, pulling off matchwinning saves with extraordinary regularity. His true value to United is being shown.
Neville, speaking on Sky Sports after the game, said that “you could argue he’s now the outstanding goalkeeper in the world.”
The debate on who is the world’s best between the sticks is a tricky one, but there is little doubt that de Gea is a contender alongside Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer.
“He’s Man United’s world-class player,” Neville continued. “There is absolutely no doubt.”
“I gave him quite a bit of stick when he first came here, because he was nowhere near it at that point. But he’s absolutely oustanding.”
While Neuer may be a better goalkeeper, De Gea pulls off the best reflex saves in the world more frequently than any other top ‘keeper. That is his truly world-class quality, one unmatched by anyone else.
This was United’s third 4-0 victory of the season, and a fourth cleansheet in five Premier League games. De Gea hasn’t always been challenged greatly so far this season, but Everton genuinely forced him into some fine saves, including denying Wayne Rooney twice on his return to Old Trafford.
Real Madrid’s interest in the Madrid-born shotstopper is ever present, but for the 2017/18 season, United still have one of the world’s finest, Neville is correct.