DAVID de Gea considered leaving Manchester United during his difficult early days at the club but now believes he is in the finest ever form, with Sundayâ€™s display in the 2-1 win over Everton a high point.
The Spaniard joined United as a 20-year-old in the summer of 2011 for Â£18.9m, a British record fee for a goalkeeper. Yet De Gea struggled for consistency and his physique was questioned before he became a pivotal member of the 2012-13 title winning side and was voted into the campaignâ€™s Premier League XI.
The early struggles, though, did make the signing from AtlÃ©tico Madrid consider his future at United. â€œSometimes it was difficult when you get a lot of criticism like I did,â€ he admitted. â€œBut I kept strong and I always tried to remain positive. I loved training. It was a great pleasure, so I just did my work and worked through it.
â€œThose early days were difficult for me and my family. But when you play for a big club like Manchester United it is normal when you donâ€™t play well. Yes I am glad it happened in some ways because the criticism makes you stronger. A goalkeeper is a difficult position and you make mistakes. It is normal. But you have to be strong in your mind to get through it all and get better.â€
United secured successive league wins under Louis van Gaal for the first time, with De Gea becoming the first man to deny Leighton Baines from the penalty spot in the Premier League and making three fine second-half saves,. While the 23-year-old believes he is in the finest form of his career, De Gea played down his part in a victory that lifted the club to fourth place for the first time since August last year.
â€œAll the players played really well,â€ he said. â€œThe last 10 minutes we had a lot of pressure but we kept calm and played really well. It was probably one of my best performances for Manchester United. I was really happy about that.
â€œI think I am playing the best football of my career. I have been here for three years and in the beginning it was difficult. Now I am ready for everything. Games like this help your confidence grow. I didnâ€™t win the match. It was the team who won the match. We scored and defended well. It was about the team and not just me. I had watched Everton penalties before the game and I decided to go to my right and I got lucky. I heard it was the first one he has missed. So I am happy about that.â€
Paddy McNair gave another composed performance, in only his second match, and De Gea praised the efforts of his younger team-mates. â€œIt is different playing behind this new defence,â€ he said. â€œIn the past we had experience in the back four. But we have new players now and younger players but I think they are playing really well.
â€œLuke Shaw and Paddy McNair are so young but they are playing so well at Old Trafford and that is amazing. Paddy has been brilliant,He keeps calm all the time and he is really good with the ball and that is important for us. He is strong and in the future he is going to be one of the best.â€ – The Guardian