"He’s well advanced in terms of experience but can he come and play for a club like Manchester United? The qualities we’ve all seen, and the manager has seen, have ticked the boxes. There is always an element of ‘can they handle 76,000 at Old Trafford?’ but I’ve seen him play at the Nou Camp, man of the match. Not fazed."

23/07/2011 11:46, Report by G Thompson and N Coppack
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Exclusive interview: Eric Steele

Goalkeeping coach Eric Steele spoke exclusively to MUTV about new signing David de Gea...

Eric first of all, are you getting used to not having a 6ft 5in Dutchman to coach?
Yeah, it’s been a strange two weeks. I’ve had three great pre seasons with him. It’s a very formative part of the season, getting them prepared. There’s a great atmosphere because competition doesn’t start so its pretty relaxed. I’ve spoke to him a couple of times since we came back and it’s strange not having him here but we knew he had to move on at some stage.

Come the first day of the season, is the number one shirt up for grabs at Manchester United?
It always is. I think the manger will look at performances, both in training and in games. That’s what pre-season's about. And now we’ve obviously got a total change of format. With de Gea, Lindegaard and Ben Amos, who’s on the trip, but we don’t sign a number one goalkeeper. De Gea, if everything goes right, will hopefully be wearing that shirt. But Lindegaard has to be ready and prepared, as does Ben Amos, and that’s what they’ve been told. The manager's creating a young squad with the whole aspect being competitive edge, and that’s no different in the goalkeeping department. We know what talent we’re buying but you’ve still got to have time to blend in.

Was David de Gea always the one you wanted?
He was one of the many we looked at and that was part of my brief when I came to the club three years ago.We spoke about this when I first did an interview with you and, over the last two years, Edwin extended his contract to another year so we knew this was the time to make a decision. So he [de Gea] was one of the five or six we narrowed down. Ultimately, the manager makes the decision but a lot of people have an input. Our international scouts, Jim Lawler our chief scout, obviously you’ve also got the other members of staff, so it’s a joint decision. Ultimately, we knew the process was going to be speeded up. So he was one of five or six. Every week as you would, being Manchester United, we were linked with every goalkeeper from here to Timbuktoo. But we knew we’d eventually channel it down until, around about Christmas time, we had near enough three or four goalkeepers.

What is it about him in particular that made the club want to sign him?
He’s just a unique talent. Ultimately, I think they come around in cycles. Iker Casillas was 17 when he got in the Real Madrid team, I saw Gianluigi Buffon when he was 17 play in Scotland. I worked with Joe Hart, who I believe

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