Manchester United legend Edwin van der Sar has praised David De Gea’s performances throughout the 2012/13 campaign, citing his Spanish successor as an integral player at Old Trafford.
The 22-year-old goalkeeper enjoyed a remarkable second season in England, winning his first Barclays Premier League title and earning a place in the PFA Team of the Year. He also finished third – behind Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick – in the fan-voted Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award.
And van der Sar, whose own retirement from football preceded De Gea’s arrival in 2011, is delighted to have seen his replacement improve and flourish so much in M16. The Dutchman, who will return to Old Trafford this Sunday 2 June to play in the Red Heart United charity match against Real Madrid, believes De Gea's first-team recall in December was a turning point in his career.
“I think that is the way everybody has seen it,” Edwin exclusively told ManUtd.com. “The first half of the season and the year before, there were some mixed feelings and the gaffer changed it up a little bit to play Anders Lindegaard for three or four games.
“But then David came back in and we stuck with him. From that point, his performances grew and he became more important to the team all of the time. It has been a good turn around for him in terms of his performances and his own self-confidence in being the Manchester United goalkeeper.
“Of course, the PFA recognition was great but the main thing you want is to win the Premier League. Personal accolades are nice but the main thing is winning something with the team. That was always my preferred choice.