Manchester United – The David de Gea Problem

Instead of losing to Tottenahm, Manchester United managed a draw despite being pinned back for most of the match. That doesn’t stop many from blaming David de Gea, who was fantastic for most of the match, for not coming away with the 3 points.

There have been talks all season regarding the future of David de Gea and the club. With a manager and club atmosphere that is unforgiving towards mistakes, De Gea seems to be holding on to his job despite making quite a few of them over the last couple of years. When you invest so much money in a 22 year old (under 21 when he arrived), you’re going to have to be patient.

So De Gea has had his moments of being dropped in favor of Anders Lindegaard, who brings something a little bit different to the table. The defense feels a bit calmer with him, and he isn’t terrified of actually trying to catch a cross instead of punching it away, which seems to be De Gea’s number one MO.

People look back at Tottenham’s equalizer and blame De Gea for botching the cross once again. Those who blame him fail to mention his two brilliant saves – one from Gareth Bale, one from Clint Dempsey, that kept United from going down as loser in a bad performance from them. Heroic? When you’re a small club fighting for relegation you can call holding on to a 1-0 lead at White Hart Lane heroic. Not when you’re trying to win the title in England and you have the kind of players and name Manchester United have.

And still the blame shifts to De Gea, the future of Spain between the posts. Or at least he seemed to be when he moved to United for £17 million. De Gea is a fantastic shot stopper, which is always the first thing you can notice about a keeper. He has terrific instincts, but being dominant in Spain is very different than being dominant in the Premier League, on a team that doesn’t allow too many attacking opportunities, forcing their keepers to remain highly focused.

De Gea isn’t physical in the air, which makes crossing against United an excellent option. He never likes to try and catch the balls but prefers punching them away. In time, the confidence of the defense in him has eroded, and you can see Nemanja Vidic jumping to every ball along with De Gea, more than once disturbing the keeper from clearing the danger. A keeper’s worth isn’t just in the stops and saves he makes; but also in his ability to communicate with the men in front of him, and the confidence he casts on the defending unit. David de Gea isn’t there at the moment.

And still, it would be foolish for Alex Ferguson to get rid of the talented goalkeeper. Sinking in so much money in him, you need to believe he will get better and can get better. Loaning him out is a possibility, but selling him? Getting rid of him? Not a wise choice. United are now looking at Victor Valdes, so they say, who won’t be carrying on with Barcelona once his contract ends, which should lead to him being sold this summer.

David de Gea is far from the perfect goalkeeper, but who is at 22? There aren’t that many Gianluigi Buffon types walking around; even Iker Casillas made plenty of mistakes at that age; he just had a better team around him. David de Gea has cost points, but he has earned quite a few up until now. Maybe benching him from time to time is the better solution than giving up on a keeper that might become the future and present of Manchester United despite everything.

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