Ralf: It's great to work with a player like him

Manchester United interim coach Ralf Rangnick is in no doubts about the standing of David De Gea and Manuel Neuer within the game.

The boss was asked to compare the merits of the pair after working with the Bayern Munich no.1 during his time at Schalke. Indeed, both Germans were in opposition to the Reds in the 2011 Champions League semi-final, when Neuer produced a memorable display for Rangnick's men.

United won 2-0 in the away leg with goals from Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney, inside a couple of second-half minutes, but Neuer produced a string of fine saves on the night.

Having worked with both keepers, the tactician is in an ideal position to evaluate just how good they really are.

Rangnick previews Villa cup tievideo

“Well, I think they are both definitely on the list of the top five goalkeepers in the world,“ Ralf told club media. ”Maybe even in the top three.

“They are both in a fantastic shape, physically and, as well as on the line, when it’s about controlling the box, David De Gea is probably one of the best, if not the best, in the world and we are very happy to have him.

“But, honestly, as a coach, I would prefer more of those games, for example, against Crystal Palace [a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford], where we don’t need him as much and, in order to achieve that, we just need to make sure we don’t have too many shots on goal.

”We had too many shots on our goal, also in the first half against Wolves, and the same was true at Newcastle or even at Norwich. But again, on the other hand, it’s good to have someone like David in goal - a fantastic professional, a fantastic player and it’s great to work with a player like him.”

Schalke skipper Manuel Neuer was outstanding in our 2011 Champions League semi-final first leg.

De Gea has been in excellent form this season and recently picked up his second consecutive Player of the Month award at Carrington.

The long-serving Spain international was rested for our previous domestic cup tie in 2021/22, with Dean Henderson keeping goal against West Ham United in the Carabao Cup, and it will be interesting to see if he starts against Aston Villa tonight (Monday).