Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Great Dane told to button it over David de Gea...

One of the more interesting snippets of news over last week was the confirmation that Ferguson has told Peter Schmeichel to keep his opinions to himself in relation to new boy David de Gea. United's Spanish stopper had what can only be described as a nightmare at Wembley in Sunday's 3-2 Community Shield win over Manchester City.

United went into the half-time interval two-nil down and for many it was hard to accept that fact, given the team's performance over the first 35 minutes in which the champions dominated, but then in a calamitous five minute spell, City scored twice.

De Gea didn't cover himself in glory on City's opening goal and he was badly at fault for the Citizen' second goal. United fans have predictably been jumping to the defence of the new goalkeeper, which is only to be expected. Nonetheless, it hasn't stopped the introspection which comes with the territory, with many pundits and fans alike asking questions about the poor marking on both of City's goals - but we cannot ignore the fact that the goalkeeper was also at fault too.

Peter Schmeichel is by common consensus, United's greatest ever 'keeper and so it is only natural that the media turn to him occasionally for his goalkeeping opinions. However, the former United star said "I have promised not to interfere, but will make one comment," he told The Mirror.

"I think it is absolutely ridiculous, listening to people already criticising him after one game.

"Everyone in this country always gets a chance, so what is the point of doing that now?"

So why exactly did United (presumably Ferguson himself) ask the great Dane to keep his opinions to himself on this occasion? The answer to that question is quite simple; Schmeichel recently spoke out about United's other new goalkeeper, Anders Lindegaard. Schmeichel basically implied his fellow compatriot wasn't up to playing for Manchester United.

Being a goalkeeper at any club is difficult, because you simply cannot afford to make many mistakes, when you do, the ball will invariably end up in the back of the net and as a result the pressure can be immense, but at a club like Manchester United that pressure is so much the greater.

When mistakes happen, there is a rush to take collective responsibility by the players and staff, but in relation to goalkeepers at United recent history tells us you can only defend a goalkeeper for so long; Ben Foster, among others, is testimony to that.

Mistakes lead to a breakdown in confidence between goalkeeper and the players in front of him and when that confidence is broken, that is when the manager has to act.

There's no doubt that Schmeichel knows what it takes to be a top goalkeeper and it therefore begs the question - why on earth the club hasn't sought the advice of the great Dane in relation to recruiting Edwin van der Sar's successor? Fergie is one of the few who can answer that question and maybe one day the manager will shed light on that one.

For now and looking forward to the season ahead, it is to be hoped that David de Gea is the right man to replace Edwin van der Sar, but respected commentators like Gabriele Marcotti are already saying the manager has taken a 'giant leap of faith' when paying what was a club record for de Gea.

Over the weekend, it emerged that in La Liga last season, de Gea conceded more goals from outside the penalty area than any other 'keeper - a stat that will have been greeted with plenty of raised eyebrows....Other pundits have hinted that de Gea might not be ready to make such a big move at this stage of his career.

So how long will de Gea be given at United? That question will only be answered over time, and hopefully, the young Spaniard will bounce back with a run of good games, and if that happens everyone including Schmeichel will be delighted.


  1. City fan here... you can't lambast a keeper after one game and a couple of mistakes (I don;t think he was at fault for the first but clearly could have done better with the second)... I do think he's a huge gamble for you and a surprising move, my reasoning behind this is he's only 20 and we'd probably all agree that keepers get better with experience and age; Where I'd question this signing is will he really get that experience at United ? I've never seen the stats but I suspect the way teams play against United (esp at OT) will mean your keeper probably sees less action than any other keeper in the league (Cech maybe a close second) so how does he get that experience ??? Especially in the "big" games when keepers earn you the points

    Either way another interesting variable to what I think will be a highly exciting season

  2. I read a comment a while ago from Sir Alex where he expressed regret about not signing Petr Cech from Rennes because he was too young, as we all know Cech signed for Chelsea and was an instant success. This time I think Sir Alex has gone with his gut feeling about De Gea being the right man to replace Van Der Sar despite his young age. I assume asking Schmeichel not to comment is an attempt to shield a young keeper from too much criticism following his Lindergaard comments. My feeling is that De Gea will be a success but I think there will be some shaky moments this season as he adapts to the Premier League.

  3. I agree, but as I mentioned in the article, 'keepers at a club like United are not afforded a great deal of time when they make mistakes. Massimo Taibi "the venetian blind" is another who found that out. Your point about playing at home is an interesting one though. The season should be a good one.

  4. Steven,

    Maybe it is because Schmeichel is such a strong character that Fergie hasn't consulted him previously about who to sign? Not sure who is right, only time will tell. But you are dead right about shielding the player.

    How did City find Joe Hart? He was a real find. But yes, Cech is good too.

    Must admit, I'm a bit concerned about de Gea, but it is very early days. My concern is the lack of time afforded to 'keepers who make mistakes.

  5. I don't think you have too many worries. he's highl;y rated in Spain and, though he wasn't that much tested, clearly looks to be athletic and a good distributor.
    He had no chance with the first - look to your CBs - and the second was a superb shot from Dzeko. Yes, he should maybe have done better, given the range but he was probably a bit unsighted.
    One miss doesn't diss a keeper, any more than one superb strike makes a striker.
    Best things you United fans can do is keep off his back.

  6. Bluevalentine,

    No one can realistically predict how well de Gea will do at United. Fergie has probably done the right thing ref Schmeichel, but no amount of talking matters, it's performaces that count.


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