David de Gea has been showered with praise and endured harsh criticism.
The Manchester United goalkeeper is no stranger to the spectrum of public opinion and media hubbub. Like all successful footballers, De Gea understands his priority is to play the game and perform.
The keeper had this to say:
“I don’t have to show anything.
“I know people love to talk, but I’m used to that. I’m just performing as well as I can, helping the team, and trying my best all the time.”(via The Daily Mail).
A testament to his pedigree is that the United goalie is just three short of Red Devils legend Peter Schmeichel’s clean sheet record.
Sunday sees United go up against Premier League leaders Arsenal. A clean sheet would place the Spaniard close to Schmeichel’s record of 180 clean sheets. It would also help United walk away with precious points from a top-four team – a vital step towards earning a Champions League spot next season and restoring their status as a title contender.
Pen and paper
Uncertainty surrounds De Gea’s future, with a new deal still to be penned. His current contract is up at the end of the season. Add reports that manager Erik ten Hag is considering a move for Brentford keeper, and a little anxiety about what lies ahead can be understood for the 32-year-old Spaniard.
De Gea, however, is understood to be unwavering in his desire to stay at the club until his career ends. The United shot-stopper put on a great display, denying most of Crystal Palace’s attacks in the Red Devils’ last game.
De Gea said, “I’m feeling great, I’m feeling really well.
“I’m helping the team, training well, feeling confident. It was a great save [to deny Edouard]. As soon as I saw the ball coming, I doubted if I could make it, but I got a touch. So, I’m feeling really good, let’s keep going.”
Despite a spirited performance between the sticks, De Gea conceded a late equaliser through the impressive efforts of Michael Olise. It was a clinical free-kick. The 1-1 draw was a bitter pill to swallow, not helped by the yellow card to Casemiro that rules him out against the heavily anticipated match against Arsenal on Sunday.
Between a rock and a hard place
De Gea feels that United is starting to feel the effects of a busy calendar of games. The Red Devils will play nine games within just 33 days.
“We have a lot of games. To be honest, the players are a bit tired. We are going to miss a big player on Sunday as well. It is tough, but you have to keep going, keep fighting and try to win.”
The absence of Casemiro leaves a void that has not escaped De Gea’s attention. He said:
“He’s going to be a big miss.
“He brings experience, a lot of experience. All over the pitch, he’s helping the team, in defence, in attack. He’s one of the best in the world in his position, for sure.”
An old rivalry reborn
The revival of United and Arsenal as powerhouses of English Football elevates the importance of this game. The winner will walk away with bragging rights and valuable points against a top-four rival.
It’s not just the resurgence of the two teams but also the managers at the helm. In years past, it was Sir Alex Ferguson versus Arsene Wenger. Mikel Arteta and Ten Hag seem poised to leave a similar legacy.
De Gea is attuned to the occasion. He said, “We’re talking about one of the best managers in history, Sir Alex, and the guy from Arsenal [Wenger]. It’s different eras, different football; football has changed a bit, but let’s see.”
Reflecting on the 2017 clash between the two teams in which he made 14 saves, the most recorded in a Premier League game, he said, “That was a great game, especially because we won. Hopefully, I can have another big game. It could be a massive three points for us.”
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