Spanish football expert Graham Hunter on
David De Gea's national status...
There is no question that David De Gea has developed during his time at Manchester United.
For quite some time, whenever David has come back to Spain to represent the Under-21s, people within the Spanish Football Federation have been pretty stunned. I think they see all of the maturity that they expected him to get as a man, but also physical differences. They see a huge degree of extra confidence.
In Spain, the national team has a role in developing young players which doesn't exist in Britain. They spend time at the national training centre from the age of 15 and are trained there even when there aren't games. Therefore the Federation feels a great deal more involvement and pride in the players, and I can tell you that they are all immensely excited about the change in him - the football development and also the personal development.
I think David will know this already, but it will be difficult for him to be involved in next summer's World Cup. If Spain's three established, experienced goalkeepers - Iker Casillas, Victor Valdes and Pepe Reina - aren't injured and aren't in horrendous form, they're going to Brazil. If one drops outs, Diego Lopez - who is keeping Casillas out of the Real Madrid team - would probably then come in. So De Gea would need at least two players to move out of his way if he's going to be at the World Cup.
That said, it is explicit among football people in Spain that when the World Cup is over and there are significant changes - whoever decides to stay, whoever decides to go - there is a mood that Spain must not miss David De Gea's moment, that he must be promoted. There is a high enough regard for David that if Casillas says he's retiring, then it's not automatically the next man's turn. There's a lobby that says De Gea is then promoted and those who want to stay and fight him for the number one spot can do that. So he's well-placed.
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