‘I don’t have to show anything’: David De Gea hits out at critics as he looks to sign a new deal with Man United despite the club being linked with David Raya, as he admits the players are ‘tired’ amid a grueling schedule
- David De Gea is three short of Peter Schmeichel’s Man United clean sheet record
- The goalkeeper is keen to sign a new deal and finish his career at Old Trafford
- United will face the biggest game against Arsenal of his career on Sunday
David De Gea has heard it all before. All the talk, all the noise. That he’s not good enough with the ball at his feet, that if Erik ten Hag wants Manchester United to play out from the back, he’ll need another goalkeeper. De Gea’s been around the block long enough to know that the best way to shut it out is to get on with the job.
Get on with making the kind of miraculous saves he produced against Crystal Palace. The one where he tipped Odsonne Edouard’s shot on to the bar was so good it’s already been thrust into the debate of where it ranks in his collection of best ever. Get on, too, with keeping clean sheets and winning games for United, starting on Sunday against Premier League leaders Arsenal.
A clean sheet at the Emirates this afternoon would put De Gea just two behind Peter Schmeichel’s record of 180 for United. In the Spaniard’s mind, that backlog of achievements does enough talking.
David De Gea is three short of Peter Schmeichel’s Man United clean sheet record
‘I don’t have to show anything,’ says De Gea. ‘I showed already for many years my qualities. 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.
‘I have lived a lot of things. I get through many, many difficult moments. I don’t care, to be honest. I just focus on my games, on my training and on my team.’
There is, of course, still the matter of his contract with De Gea’s current deal up at the end of the season. Throw in, too, the latest reports that Ten Hag is interested in Brentford keeper David Raya. And yet De Gea is understood to be close to re-signing, albeit on a lower salary. He’s said he wants to stay at United for the rest of his career.
‘I’m feeling great, I’m feeling really well,’ he says. ‘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.’
The keeper is determined to finish his career at Old Trafford despite links with David Raya
For all his heroics, he could do nothing about Palace’s late equaliser, a stunning free-kick by Michael Olise. It was a disappointing result, one made even more so by the yellow card to Casemiro that ruled him out of the ‘massive’ clash with top-of-the-table Arsenal.
De Gea also believes that United’s players are feeling the effects of the log-jammed calendar that will see them play nine games in only 33 days.
‘The team has a great spirit, the feeling is good. We are just going game by game, preparing as well as we can for every game. 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.’
Casemiro’s absence feels like a hammer blow. He’s been the linchpin of United’s exciting development under Ten Hag. He’s won more interceptions, tackles and duels than any United player. The reaction to his booking, especially by the television commentators, exuded as much drama as a late winner.
He admitted losing Casemiro was ‘massive’ and called the midfielder ‘one of our best players’
Before the question of how big a loss Casemiro would be for United was even finished, the words were out of De Gea’s mouth: ‘Massive. Massive. He’s one of the best players on the team. 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.’
For the first time in over a decade, there’s a feeling of magnitude about the prospect of a Premier League match between United and Arsenal. Fierce old rivals, back at the top of the pile at last. There’s something about the managers, too. In the past, it was Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson. There’s a sense that Mikel Arteta and Ten Hag want to build their own dynasties.
Erik ten Hag’s side will move level on points with Manchester City if they win on Sunday
‘I hope so,’ says De Gea. ‘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.’
De Gea has been around long enough to know what the United-Arsenal clashes of old feel like. He’s been in a fair few of them. His first was that 8-2 win in 2011. He made 14 saves in another of them in 2017, the most on record for a Premier League game.
‘I remember that,’ he says. ‘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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