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Player profile

Position

1

David De Gea

Goalkeeper

Goals rank

19Zlatan Ibrahimovic

7Paul Pogba

0David De Gea

0Joel Castro Pereira

0Axel Tuanzebe

Appearances rank

126David De Gea

31Zlatan Ibrahimovic

30Paul Pogba

3Timothy Fosu-Mensah

1Joel Castro Pereira

Discipline

Yellow cards: 1

Fouls Won: 1

Red cards: 0

Fouls Conceded: 0

profile

David De Gea made history in May 2016 by becoming the first Manchester United player to win three consecutive Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year awards. It was an unprecedented honour for the goalkeeper and it cemented his status as a fan-favourite at Old Trafford.

The Reds’ no.1 signed a four-year contract at the beginning of 2015/16, with an option for a further year, following a summer of intense speculation regarding Real Madrid’s well-documented pursuit of his signature. Finishing fifth in the Barclays Premier League was a disappointment for De Gea and the team, but success was experienced by lifting the FA Cup and a first trophy for the club since 2013.

De Gea’s road to Old Trafford began at Atletico Madrid’s academy. Tall, athletic and confident with the ball, he progressed quickly through the youth ranks and spent his first professional season, 2008/09, with the club’s reserves. A first-team debut arrived early in the following term via a substitute appearance against FC Porto in the UEFA Champions League on 30 September 2009 – and thereafter he never looked back.

De Gea capped his maiden campaign in Atletico Madrid’s first team by playing a major role in winning the UEFA Europa League – the club’s first major European trophy in almost 50 years. His already burgeoning reputation was further enhanced during his second full season in La Liga and rumours of United’s interest, which had first surfaced in January 2010, were more widely circulated when the Reds’ then goalkeeping coach Eric Steele was seen scouting the youngster.

By the end of the 2010/11 season, David was widely touted by several media outlets as the primary choice to replace the retiring Edwin van der Sar at Old Trafford, although talks were put on hold whilst he helped Spain win UEFA’s Under-21 European Championship in Denmark. The transfer was completed after the tournament, on 29 June 2011, and De Gea subsequently linked up with his new team-mates on the pre-season tour of North America.

Despite his tender years, De Gea enjoyed a largely successful first campaign in Manchester. Having endured a baptism of fire from the media, who unfairly scrutinised his every move, he adapted well to the English game. Unfortunately, the 2011/12 title race ended in heartbreak for United on the final day when Manchester City dramatically snatched the crown but it was an experience which stood De Gea in good stead during the subsequent campaign.

When the Reds reclaimed the Barclays Premier League title in 2012/13 at a canter, De Gea was a standout figure throughout the season, earning a place in the prestigious PFA Team of the Year whilst finishing third in the fans’ voting for the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award.

After helping Spain retain their European Under-21 crown later that summer, De Gea returned to Old Trafford for what would turn out to be a tough 2013/14 campaign for the Reds, but one in which he maintained a high level of personal performance. He made his 100th club appearance against Tottenham Hotspur and kept 20 clean sheets in all competitions, and his consistent displays were recognised as he was named United’s Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year.

As if that wasn’t enough reward for his 2013/14 efforts, the United no.1 was chosen in his country’s World Cup squad and made his senior international debut in a warm-up match against El Salvador, coming on as a substitute for Iker Casillas for the final few minutes of Spain’s 2-0 win. A training injury prevented De Gea from playing in any of the three matches in the tournament in Brazil.

De Gea’s 2014/15 season then mirrored the previous campaign – with him winning two Player of the Year awards in May but again no team silverware to show for his superb efforts between the posts. The collective did improve, however, with Louis van Gaal leading the club back into the Champions League places and De Gea playing a key part in achieving this objective. The Spanish goalkeeper only missed the final match of the season, away to Hull City due to a hamstring injury, and the top-four finish was already assured by then. It seems frustrated opposition strikers may have voted him into the PFA Premier League Team of the Year, in which he was United’s sole representative.

The 2015/16 season began with a rumoured transfer to Real Madrid falling through, yet De Gea remained professional throughout the saga and went on to produce one of his finest seasons with United, winning the Player of the Year award, the FA Cup and another place in the PFA Team of the Year.

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