Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has praised goalkeeper David de Gea by saying that the Spaniard’s work in the gym is starting to pay off. The goalkeeper was highly criticised for his inconsistent performances after arriving from Spanish club Atletico Madrid for an enormous transfer fee of £ 18 million. This is one of the highest transfer fees paid for a goalkeeper, and a lot of was expected of the 20-year-old. He was signed as a replacement for Dutch international Edwin van Der Sar, who was retiring from football. However, de Gea struggled in his first season at Old Trafford, which led to rumours linking him with an exit away from a club.
Ferguson has also been switching between de Gea and Andreas Lindegaard in the search for a replacement for van Der Sar. Since the turn of the year, though, de Gea has been played consistently by Ferguson. He has also been hitting the gym on a consistent basis in order to beef up. One of the major struggles for de Gea has been in the crosses and set pieces. The time spent in the gym has paid off well according to Ferguson, who praised the goalkeeper after his impeccable performance in the 2-2 draw with West Ham.
“David is No 1 now, definitely. You have to thank our goalkeeping coach Eric Steele. The big improvement is in the physical part. He has put on nearly a stone in muscle, is much stronger and deals with the physical part a lot better. His first game last season was away from home against West Brom. The referee felt he was a young goalkeeper, who was not used to English football. There was a laxity in terms of protection for him,” said Ferguson, whose team are extremely close to winning the 20th league title.