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In safe hands

"David De Gea is one of the most promising goalkeepers in Europe and he is in the best place to improve his game..."

- Adam Marshall, ManUtd.com

21/01/2013 19:57, Report by Adam Marshall
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Blog: Defending De Gea

and passing accurately for an unmarked Clint Dempsey to level the scores.

Former United star Gary Neville felt it was a match-costing error by De Gea during his analysis on Sky and argued on Twitter: "What I'm shocked at is that people take the 'he was fantastic apart from that' attitude. This is Manchester United!"

If criticism of individuals from a loyal servant like Neville is an uncomfortable but necessary evil due to his current role, things were taken a step further by Alan Hansen. The former Liverpool stalwart based his Daily Telegraph column around the theory that De Gea must be dropped to avoid costing the Barclays Premier League leaders the title.

It was an incredible assessment to make on the 1-1 draw, played in harsh conditions. Those who hadn't seen the action could be forgiven for thinking the United goalkeeper had thrown the ball into his own net or allowed a long-ranger to trickle through his legs.

The Telegraph's own player ratings awarded De Gea a mark of 7, the same as the excellent Michael Carrick and only less than two of his team-mates (Robin van Persie and Phil Jones). 

If reports emanating from Barcelona's sports papers are to be believed, the team reckoned by many to be the best the world has ever seen would dearly love De Gea to replace Victor Valdes, after their current custodian turned down a new contract.

Maybe the Catalans can see what most United supporters have already identified in Spain's Under-21 captain. He is one of the most promising goalkeepers in Europe and is in the best place to improve his game in order to cope with the English top flight and the differences with La Liga.

I accept there is a lack of patience and, if De Gea was costing the team points, as Hansen attests, then a debate in the media would be justified. But it's getting to the stage now where he is being blamed for the sort of goals that plenty of other keepers concede on a regular basis.

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