David de Gea was under the spotlight again last night after appearing to be caught out of position for Ukraine’s winning goal against Spain in the Nations League.
A delightful through ball from Yarmolenko left scorer Tsyhankov through on goal with De Gea stranded on the edge of his area to the right and unable to get back to protect his goal.
It is ironic that this happened on the very day that The Athletic published an article claiming that the 29-year-old had been working with his former youth team coach Miguel Angel Espana this summer and that ‘the one-on-one sessions … just outside Madrid included thinking about positioning himself better to be able to come further off his line to help his defence.’
The United man had earlier survived a let-off after being deceived by Oleksandr Zubkov, who then managed to miss with the goal gaping.
For United fans, De Gea’s performance, whilst not disastrous, is a concern after the positive messages that have been coming out of Old Trafford about a long-awaited return to form following his sessions with Espana.
‘[Despite the short summer break] De Gea still found time to think quite deeply about how his performance levels in recent years and decided to take some personal control of the situation,’ a source told The Athletic.
‘David called Miguel Angel to ask to train some days together, and they talked about some personal things, some technical things that he knew he had to improve.’
‘He knew he had to do something.’
There were signs in last night’s game that the training had had a positive effect on De Gea’s decision-making but the error for the goal was a huge step backward and returned Spain head coach Luis Enrique onto the familiar back foot of defending the keeper.
‘You could always do something more, but this about De Gea is turning into a vice, it turns you guys on a lot,’ Enrique complained after the game.
With United centre-back Harry Maguire seeing red for England and Victor Lindelof conceding three goals playing for Sweden against Portugal, it was not a good night all round for United’s defensive unit.
This summer’s transfer window was one of the strangest in living memory. So cast your mind back to less stressful days and test your knowledge of past United arrivals and departures in our quiz below.