What does it take to be Manchester United number one and does Sergio Romero have it?

David De Gea is Manchester United’s current number one goalkeeper and is arguably the best keeper in the world also winning Manchester United’s Player of the Year for four out of the last five years. Understandably this has not gone unnoticed with Real Madrid at the forefront of transfer talks.

De Gea has been continuously linked with a move to the La Liga giants since his transfer at the end of the 2015 summer transfer window broke down at the 11th hour and it is no secret that returning manager Zinedine Zidane is a big admirer of the goalkeeper as he looks to rebuild Real Madrid’s first team. United have still not agreed on terms to a contract extension and with De Gea’s current contract ending at the end of the season, many fans are starting to wonder how the club will cope without the Spaniard.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel as Sergio Romero, United’s number two is widely argued as the world’s best number two goalkeeper.  The Argentine, who is the Argentina national team’s first choice of goalkeeper, has proven his worth many times over the few years he has been at the club with world class displays against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Valencia. Romero, who was signed by the club in July 2015, was also the starting goalkeeper in all 12 games of United’s successful Europa League campaign facing teams like Ajax and Fenerbahce.

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Goalkeepers are one of the most important players on a football pitch being the last line of defence and the first line of attack and United are renowned for having a world class shot stopper between the posts and have a long list of famous names to prove it.

One of the most famous is the Danish Keeper Peter Schmeichel who was a member of the class of 92 and a big part in the establishment of United as a super-club when he captained them to the treble in 1999 during the Champions League final. He also won UEFA Euro 1992 with Denmark. He is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of all time and was inducted into the English football’s Hall of Fame for his impact in the game.

The second is United legend Edwin van der Sar who signed for the Red Devils in 2005 and is considered by Sir Alex Ferguson to be the best goalkeeper to have played for the club since Peter Schmeichel. He is best remembered for his penalty save in the 2008 Champions League final to secure the trophy for the club. The Dutchman also holds the record for most clean sheets at the UEFA European Championship with nine clean sheets.

Fabien Barthez is also on the list of world-class keepers that have defended the net for United and is the only goalkeeper for United that has won a World Cup, which he won with France in 1998 and got to the World Cup Final in 2006 after which he retired. During his career he was widely rated by pundits as the best of his generation and one of the best in the world, winning the Premier League twice with United.

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Every single goalkeeper that puts on the gloves for the Red Devils has to be able to play to the highest level in order to reach the expectations of the fans and the club. They need to be able to organise the defence and keep the line organised for the full match as well as having an excellent distribution of the ball in order to start the attack. The better the distribution, the better chance of a goal scoring opportunity.

David De Gea has all these traits as well as lightning fast reflexes that he has proven time and time again. His ability to deal with crosses has greatly improved after showing room for development in his first season at the club. However, when it comes to De Gea and Romero it is commonly a case of anything you can do, I can do just as well with the Argentine easily stepping up to the plate when the manager calls upon him, doing the job well each time.

While De Gea is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, and all United fans will be hoping he stays at the club, they can rest assured knowing that Romero is well and truly up to the job of being De Geas replacement and United’s future number one goalkeeper.

Written by Chris Kaye

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