Manchester United players have this season voted goalkeeper David De Gea as the Players’ Player of the Year instead of Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo. The Spaniard enjoyed a renaissance of sorts this term on a personal level, pulling off quite a few great saves throughout the season.
However, due to the lackluster performance from the defensive unit as a whole this season, which saw the club finish with a goal difference of zero, it was widely accepted that Ronaldo would sweep home all individual accolades.
But the players decided that the former Atletico Madrid shot-stopper was more deserving considering how his form had wavered in the previous couple of campaigns.
THANKS ❤️ pic.twitter.com/BuxTs2W4vq
— David de Gea (@D_DeGea) June 3, 2022
“In what has been a tough campaign for our first team, the 31-year-old played every single minute of Premier League action and was regularly on hand to save his side,” the club’s website said.
The Spanish international collected a total of seven Man-of-the-Match awards during the course of the Premier League campaign, and also also earned the club’s Player-of-the-Month award for November, December and January.
This was De Gea’s fourth time winning this particular award, having won it three times back in 2013–14, 2014–15 and 2017–18.
Many people on social media questioned why Ronaldo did not claim the prize having single-handedly dragged his team to victory numerous times.
But the former U-21 European Championship winning skipper did manage to return to his previous level when it comes to shot-stopping and also kept Dean Henderson at bay, just when it looked like United’s reserve keeper would cement his place as the Red Devils’ new Number 1.
Despite the award, the goalie will be well aware of the challenges that lie ahead. His shot-stopping capability has never been in doubt, something he showcased throughout the season. But his inability to play out from the back and his refusal to come out from his line has not helped his team on numerous occasions.
New United manager Erik Ten Hag prefers a goalkeeper who is comfortable with the ball at his feet. The Dutchman will keep a keen eye on the Spaniard in his debut season.
Many pundits have pointed out Pep Guardiola’s treatment of Joe Hart and indicated that the United keeper could be axed in the same way.
United’s number 1 will not get the chance to rest on his laurels. Despite this award, the upcoming season might prove to be a make-or-break one for the Spaniard.