FOOTBALL NEWS

30/01/2012 10:46, Report by Nick Coppack
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Owen speaks up for De Gea

Michael Owen has backed David De Gea in the wake of Manchester United's FA Cup exit at Anfield and is confident the 22-year-old will become "a top keeper".

The Spanish stopper, recalled for the outing against Liverpool after sitting out the Reds' previous four matches, came under fire from some quarters for his performance and, in particular, his role in the game's opening goal.

When Steven Gerrard floated in a corner from the left touchline, De Gea came to claim the ball but couldn't fight his way past the imposing figure of Andy Carroll. Liverpool defender Daniel Agger rose – almost unchallenged despite the presence of four United defenders in close proximity – to nod into the net, with the ball skimming off De Gea's head on the way in.

Former United midfielder Roy Keane, working at the game as a pundit for ITV, was one of many to lay the blame for the goal at De Gea's feet. His advice to the goalkeeper: "You've got to make your presence felt and go and nail somebody."

Reds boss Sir Alex Ferguson saw the incident differently, claiming his defenders created the problem. "They didn't give him [De Gea] enough room to deal with it."

It's an opinion Michael Owen shared on Twitter on Sunday.

"The ball was on the six-yard box for the first goal," he wrote. "[David] has to go for it. He also needs to watch the flight of the ball. There are then six players in front of him.

"There is nothing he could do. The free header was the problem, not the keeper.

"The problem is, once you get labelled, mud sticks and now any tiny mistake is magnified. Other

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