De Gea shrugs off criticism, says he is still safe pair of hands


London (AFP) – David de Gea says he has faith in his abilities despite a torrent of criticism in recent months and questions over whether he should remain Manchester United’s first choice goalkeeper.

The 29-year-old Spanish international’s position has come under increasing pressure due to the form shown by Dean Henderson on loan at Premier League rivals Sheffield United.

The 23-year-old Englishman is believed to have told United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer he will seek a move away if he is not given the number one spot.

Chelsea are reportedly keen to sign Henderson as they seek to offload Kepa Arrizabalaga. His understudy Willy Caballero is 39.  

De Gea, though, sounded a defiant note following United’s 2-1 loss to Spanish side Sevilla in the Europa League semi-finals. 

Solskjaer showed his faith in De Gea in selecting him for the Sevilla clash ahead of Sergio Romero, who usually played in the Europa League.

De Gea has been at United since 2011 and signed new and improved terms with them until at least 2023 last September.

He has been United’s player of the year on four occasions but last season was a trying one for him reaching a nadir with two glaring errors in their FA Cup semi-final defeat by Chelsea.    

“No, I trust in myself,” De Gea told the Press Association news agency.

“I showed my qualities all the years, so I just keep available for the manager.

“I’m always ready to play and try to help the team as always, as I did always.”

De Gea said that despite losing in three semi-finals last season — they lost to Manchester City in the League Cup — saw definite progress at the club under Solskjaer.  

“I think we improved already this season,” said de Gea.

“We were 14 points behind the third position in the Premier League (at one point).

“We finished third (securing a place in next season’s Champions League) at the end.”

However, de Gea believes that to make the leap from semi-finalists to trophy winners, the club needs to add new faces who bring a more streetwise approach to their play.     

“Maybe we need a bit of experience, more experience in the team,” he said.

“Let’s keep improving, let’s keep fighting for this club and let’s try to win trophies next season.”

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