Defending David De Gea: 3 Reasons Why Manchester United Should Keep Him

The amount of hostility that David De Gea receives each week is somewhat bemusing to me. I know he’s made mistakes, but so have many other world class goalkeepers. In a way, it is part of the job, and especially so in the EPL where punishing mistakes is a big part of the game. The speed and intensity of matches is what makes watching the Premier League so much fun, but it also causes teams (and goalkeepers) to make errors.

I suppose the reason that De Gea gets a disproportionate amount of criticism is a by-product of playing for Manchester United. Any goalkeeper will be playing in the shadow of the great Peter Schmeichel and will always be compared to him. This is certainly not fair, but it is a fact. Playing for Manchester United also means that the stakes are higher and the expectations even more so. Perhaps the last big reason for all the flak he gets is due to the price tag. £19 million is quite a hefty transfer fee for such a young and largely unproven player. I am not saying that he doesn’t make mistakes or that he shouldn’t be criticized at all, but that criticism leveled against him is often harsher than against other keepers out there. I know he has flaws and he has weaknesses he needs to work on, but this is more about why the ranting and raving is a bit overboard and why I believe Sir Alex and Manchester United should hang on to him.

Here are 3 reasons why I believe Sir Alex Ferguson should keep David De Gea at Manchester United:

1.) At only 22 years old he is still very young. It is well known that keepers play longer than outfield players and that they peak at much later ages. Their past two great keepers, Edwin van der Sar and Peter Schmeichel, were much older during their time at Manchester United. Peter Schmeichel played for United from 1991-1999 and was 28-36 during that time. Edwin van der Sar played from 2005-2011 and was 35-41.  It is well documented that the brain does not stop developing until age 25, which could be part of why goalkeepers tend to peak later in their career, considering that the goalkeeper position requires more thinking: it requires foresight, constant decision making along with rapid reflexes. By keeping him at United he will be able to develop within the confines of the United setup. The more games he gets with the team, the more experience he gets. Which leads to the second point…

2) He is still learning the English game. This is only his second full season in EPL and he has only recently begun to play regular first team football. Coming from Atletico Madrid and the La Liga style of play is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of the Premier League. I have noticed differences in how he plays and that he is starting to command his box more. Sure, there is still work to be done and he does need to step it up and really dominate the area, but he is learning. Getting in the weight room more will certainly help him out, but so will playing regularly. I think he needs the game time to increase his consistency as well as his confidence. Remember, he is still young and he is still susceptible to becoming insecure and losing poise. The more time he plays with the team and develops in the EPL the better he will get.

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