David de Gea has been labelled as goalkeeping’s version of Lionel Messi by former-Manchester United man and now Watford goalkeeper, Ben Foster.
The English shotstopper left Man United some years ago, and his side were denied a point in Saturday evening’s Premier League fixture because of De Gea’s fantastic saves.
After 93 minutes, with United defending a 2-1 lead and Watford finally looking like a team inspired after a poor performance for the majority of the game, de Gea parried away a good header that would have been the equaliser against most goalkeepers.
Foster hailed his opposite number after the game, and rightly so.
“He’s the Messi of goalkeeping,” the Watford goalkeeper said after the game.
“Some of the saves he makes, at really critical times, are just breathtaking.”
At a team like United, it’s vital that the goalkeeper can be subject to a quiet game before pulling off crucial saves late on. Keeping that concentration and focus going throughout the game while being rarely challenged is key at a top side.
De Gea is one of the best at doing that. Foster revealed, though, that de Gea is an interestingly poor trainer, in terms of his work ethic on the training ground.
Instead, the Spaniard is supposedly a different man during the match.
“He’s the most natural goalie you will ever see. From what I hear, he’s not a great trainer,” Foster said.
“Training doesn’t do it for him. But 3pm, the adrenaline rush: that’s what turns him on. That’s something you really can’t teach. He’s got the game management, the nous of what to do at any given time.”
De Gea, of course, struggled when he first arrived at United. He clearly did some intense training to fix his problems from aerial crosses, and he certainly focused on bulking out in the gym.
However, Foster’s words are intriguing. Some footballers, including goalkeepers, just have the character and the arrogance to train at one level, and reach an entirely different level on a match day.