Q&A: De Gea is confident about United's future
Fresh from signing a new long-term contract, keeping him at the club until at least June 2023, David De Gea sat down for an in-depth interview about his Manchester United career so far.
De Gea references the 2013 Premier League title success as his personal highlight so far, but the Spain international is not finished yet, and he is hungrier than ever to claim more major trophies.
David is confident about United’s future under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and, as a senior member of the squad who often wears the captain’s armband, he is excited by the next chapter of his Reds career. Check out our exclusive conversation here…
“Thank you very much. It’s difficult to describe with words how I feel now. I’m delighted and proud to be continuing in this team and to play for Manchester United. It’s a dream so I’m really, really happy.”
This contract will see you surpass a decade here. What do you think it is that makes this club so special?
“I think everything. The history of the club and the big players that have played for this club as well. And also the people who work for the club, they make it a better club… the kit men, the media guys, the physios, the chefs… everyone is a big part of the club and they make it even bigger. The fans as well around the world, not just the fans in England, the supporters outside of England, they are amazing and people like Sir Alex Ferguson as well – all that altogether makes this club a special club.”
“I think it’s a responsibility for everyone who puts the Manchester United shirt on. It’s true I’ve been here a long time and I’m always here to help everyone, especially the young lads, and to try to improve every day and try to do my best.”
Do you have a message for the fans who have supported you since you joined United?
“Yes, [I say] thank you. They have believed in me since I came here. I want to say a massive thanks to them, like I said before they make this club so special, so thank you very much to all of them.”
What’s the highlight of your time at United so far?
“I’ve been here for a good few years now and there really have been some really great moments. It was very special for me when we won the Premier League title, but I hope there are a lot more of those special moments to come in the future and that when they do, they are even better than the ones we’ve already experienced together.”
“When I arrived here, I was just a kid, a boy really and I’ve become a man. I’ve changed a lot, on and off the field. I’ve been fortunate enough to have great managers and coaches, who’ve helped me to improve a great deal as a player, as have the players I’ve played alongside too. To be honest, I reckon I have grown in every aspect, as a goalkeeper and as a person.”
You have a great relationship with the other goalkeepers – how important are they to you?
“It’s extremely important. At the end of the day, as goalkeepers, we always train as a separate group and so we spend a lot of our time together. I’ve also been lucky to have shared my time here with some excellent keepers, who have, in turn, made me better at what I do. They have all been great people too and so it’s been a pleasure to have worked with so many great goalkeepers.”
Go behind the scenes of the video that announced De Gea's new United contract.
You’re among the group of senior players who wear the captain’s armband and did so for Spain in the recent international break. How much pride does it give you to lead your club or country out?
“It’s both a privilege and a responsibility. Being captain of a team like Manchester United is a big responsibility and also a source of great pride, being able to walk out on to the pitch wearing the captain’s armband and always trying to help my team-mates, trying to show the right example to everyone. As I say, always being there ready to help the side.”
What kind of leader are you? Are you someone who likes to verbally lead and instruct others, or is it more about setting an example on the training pitch and on the field?
“I think that it’s important to have your say but, at the same time, not to go too far or say something to your team-mates in a bad-mannered way. I’m always a pretty calm character, but when something needs to be said, I will say it, especially out on the pitch where I think it’s most important, to give bits of advice to everyone. To always try and help everyone out, especially the younger lads. So yes, like I say, to always help where I possibly can, and that’s the key, I reckon.”
We know in football it’s about fine margins and, this season, we have seen that. What are the main positives you’ve taken from the performances so far?
“I think, firstly, we have improved a lot defensively. We are conceding fewer goals than last season. I think that, last year, we were letting in too many goals, but we are defending better and, from there, the team is improving. Of course, when you defend well, the team is bound to improve. We have some great players up front and we just have to keep on improving. There are lots of things we can work on, so, little by little, we can try and build a very strong team, a team which can dominate games more and dictate the play and, with that, win games.”
After the win against Leicester, is it important that we continue that winning feeling?
“I think it was a vital win for us, against a good side like Leicester who came here on the back of a good run of victories, where they’d played well and scored goals. So, I reckon it was really important and served as a confidence boost for us, and showed that we are here and in the mix, and that we want to perform well and want to win games.”
“Yes, it’s evident that we have improved, maybe we could have managed to get a couple more clean sheets along the way, but, as I said before, I reckon that we have come on a lot defensively, the team is a lot more compact and we are defending much better than last season. And from that base, as I was saying, I think that the team is only going to get better, and we will be much stronger and a more difficult team to beat.”
Some consider you to be the peak years in a goalkeeper’s career. Even though you’ve been named Player of the Year four times already, is the best still yet to come?
“I’ve been playing now for quite a few years but, in goalkeeping terms, I’m still pretty young. I want to keep playing and, more than anything else, be able to achieve great things with this club. The most important thing is to pick up trophies for the team. I will keep just trying to improve with every training session and do the best I can and, obviously, keep performing.”
Ole has always had great faith in you – how pleasing is that?
“From the moment he arrived here, he showed his faith in me, right from minute one. I think he had a massive impact with the team. I think we won 10 or 11 games on the bounce. Everyone has faith in him, that’s the most important thing. The fans are behind him and he’s a manager who knows the club really well and the people who work here and I reckon that is essential. He also shows a lot of confidence in the younger players, which is important for us, and so he’s a really great manager.”