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,

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

Any footballer playing for Manchester United can expect to receive criticism. It goes with the territory.

Nowadays, the critics are not only confined to the media and supposed neutrals. Some of United's own fans take to Twitter, message-boards and phone-ins to dissect individual performances and pull no punches if anybody's display has not met their levels of expectation.

Regardless of whether a player is returning from injury, an untried youngster or a new signing trying to bed in, harsh opinions are formed and this is hardly restricted to big clubs - some of the club's loanees have seemingly been judged swiftly by the online community.

Yet it is fair to say there was not a sizeable chunk of the United faithful who pinned the concession of two dropped points at Tottenham on outstanding keeper David De Gea. The Spanish shot-stopper continues to be targeted by those in the media as if it's a story that needs to keep running, even if evidence often suggests otherwise.

In horrible snowy weather, the youngster kicked the ball with efficiency and authority throughout the 90 minutes. It's fair to say he handled this difficult aspect of the game better than Hugo Lloris who, understandably, had some problems with his clearances.

De Gea was forwarded as a contender for Sky Sports' Man of the Match award (admittedly before Tottenham's late equaliser) after a string of fine saves, proving his positioning is first class and his ability to pull off unorthodox stops with all parts of his body, even after deflections, is an admirable attribute.

The only negatives were a parry that he redeemed by saving Jermain Defoe's rebound, with the Spurs striker flagged offside in any case, and a weak punch in the final seconds that, unluckily, went straight to Aaron Lennon. Under pressure, he could not have been expected to catch the ball and credit must go to Lennon for being in the right position and passing accurately for an unmarked Clint Dempsey to level the scores.

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