Despite being chastised for his inability to play with the ball at his feet, David de Gea insists he is’very comfortable’ doing so.
De Gea’s shot-stopping ability has never been questioned, and despite the fact that it may not be flattering for United’s porous defence, he has made more saves in the Premier League this season than any other goalkeeper.
However, the Spaniard has been chastised for a lack of confidence and competence in possession and with his distribution, as evidenced by his recent exclusion from the Spain team.
De Gea, on the other hand, believes he can play with the ball, and that it is United’s inability to keep a proper press and high-line that makes things difficult.
“The most important thing for a goalie to do is to prevent goals from being scored,” he told UEFA.
“Then, if you have the talent or the ability to play with your feet while maintaining good vision, that’s incredible.
“I enjoy playing with my feet, out from the back, and following my team’s lead, but it all depends on the coach and the style of play.
“We [play with Spain] with a very high defensive line. This is how I’ve always played when I was in the youth teams. We aim to play with a high line at United, but some of our players are incredibly quick and talented, and if the pressing isn’t strong enough, we can have issues at the back.
“However, as a goalkeeper, you must be off your line and on the lookout for any potential pass in behind in order to assist your defence.”
On Wednesday, De Gea will face his former club Atletico Madrid for the first time since his departure in 2011, when the two teams meet in the Champions League last 16 first-leg tie.
The 31-year-old has also talked about how he broke into the team when he was a teenager.
“I was somewhat of the third-choice goalkeeper at the time [after Sergio Asenjo and Roberto],” he explained. “I’ve always believed in myself; I used to exercise a lot and simply try to prove to myself: “I’m here; I may be young, but I’m capable.” “..
“I tried my hardest, and then Roberto was hurt, which was lucky for me but terrible for Roberto since it gave me the opportunity to prove that I was capable.
“The team transformed when Quique [Sánchez Flores] arrived. We kept winning games, and there was a point where Asenjo and I were both available, and he chose me. Almost all of the games were played by me.
“We advanced to the UEFA Europa League final, where we triumphed. We also advanced to the Copa del Rey final. We didn’t win, but we did make it to the final. Then, against that legendary Inter [Milan] team, we won the UEFA Super Cup.”