Ole: De Gea has risen to the challenge
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised David De Gea’s attitude and character ahead of this afternoon’s game against Everton in the Premier League.
If De Gea plays against the Toffees in the early kick-off at Old Trafford, it will be his 450th appearance in a United shirt since signing for the Reds, just over a decade ago.
He will overtake Jack Silcock on the club's all-time list, moving into the top 20, with Rio Ferdinand (455 games) and Martin Buchan (456) next in his sights.
The Spaniard has enjoyed a strong start to the season in goal and was nominated for the club’s Player of the Month award for September as a result, following Man-of-the-Match-winning performances in wins against West Ham and Villarreal.
Solskjaer says that De Gea has risen to the challenge of increased competition at club and international level like a true professional and is now reaping the rewards of his hard work behind the scenes, in the early weeks of this campaign.
Here is every word from his chat with MUTV’s Stewart Gardner…
Ole, first of all, it was quite an emotional game on Wednesday night, now we play Saturday lunchtime. Is that something you have to consider, the line-up?
“Yeah, of course. We have to freshen things up, very quick turnaround. Before this season, it was decided that wasn’t going to happen but apparently that’s from next season. It’s the same problem we had last season, we travelled to Turkey, came back and then played Everton early on, we did really well, played really well, the players were fired up for it and it’s not going to happen by itself, we have to fire ourselves up again and say they’re not going to catch us out this time either, if they try, they can try, but we’ll be ready.”
How is the squad looking, Ole? We saw Luke [Shaw] has been named in the England squad…
“Luke [Shaw] trained this morning, he’s had a shoulder injury and been ill so hopefully he can join in tomorrow. Harry [Maguire] is obviously out. Marcus [Rashford] trained fully today, the first time in a while that he could join in properly, that he could be tackled, there was a few tackles flying in so that’s good. So, we should be okay.”
“I don’t know how long it will take for Harry and his injury. Marcus is fit, worked really hard, but he’s not had any contact. If his shoulder can take the contact now, he should be ready after the internationals.”
Aaron [Wan-Bissaka] is back of course, because he was suspended in midweek, are you surprised, I think it surprised everyone, that he had a two-game suspension? Is there anything you can do?
“[I was] shocked. Yeah, we’re going to hand an appeal in of course, because he ends up almost with a three-game ban because it’s two thirds of the game he got sent off in, that one, and an extra one. If you look at other tackles in the Champions League, I can’t see any reason why he should have two games, or almost three as I said.”
Can I ask you about Jesse [Lingard]? He made an impact from the subs bench again in midweek and he’s done a few times. Mostly for the good, is he in your mind for starting games?
“Of course. I understand, I’ve been a player, I’ve been on the bench probably more than anyone at this club. I understand sometimes you’re a little bit frustrated that you don’t play but you can’t let it affect yourself and your performance or your team-mates. Jesse has come on and done really well more often than not. He’s bubbly, lively, picked for England again and of course he’s available to start for us because he’s a very, very good player.”
“You know, people mature and players mature. You get different challenges in your career, he came up against a new challenge for him, I felt last season, didn’t play as much and of course with Spain as well. But David has reacted as any professional should do, it’s hurting your pride a little bit that you don’t play as much and he’s getting towards that perfect age for a goalkeeper. He’s got experience, physically, he’s working really hard to be stronger and mentally, I have to say he’s been so, so positive. So, it’s down to him. And of course, the coaches that work with him every day, but him, that he decides, ‘okay, I’m here at Manchester United and I want to stay’.”
Cristiano [Ronaldo] went past Andy Cole’s goalscoring tally for United, the next one on the list is [you]…
“Yes, he’s not going to play anymore now! How many behind is he, three? Okay, a few more then!”
“Yeah, he’s an exceptional talent. But now, 20, not a teenager anymore. We know he’s got loads of development in him, learning and playing with new players. So, [it’s] exciting to work with boys like this when you’ve seen him, I’ve seen him for almost three years now since I came, and he’s just developed into a very fine young man that you can rely on day in, day out and week in, week out.”
Everton have the same record as us, their start to the season, what have you made of it?
“Whatever team wins is probably top of the league, which is great, a good narrative for this game. As all Rafa [Benitez] teams are, they are very well-organised, stubborn, have very good players individually, had some injuries of course, but everyone has that. We’re up for a tough challenge, we know that from last season as well, with the same type of players they scored three goals against us at Old Trafford, so we have to be ready.”