How crucial will David De Gea’s role at Manchester United be following his new contract signing?

Finally after a period of prolonged negotiations stretching roughly two years, the Spanish number one goalkeeper has signed a new deal at Manchester United this week until 2023.

This latest contract ensures that the Spanish international becomes the highest earner at the club, earning around £375,000 per week.

That in mind, it begs the question, how important will his role be in trying to get Manchester United back to competing again for premier league titles?

Following on from this, should he subsequently be made club captain?

Background and achievements to date

De Gea is currently one of the clubs longest serving players, having signed for The Red Devils back in 2011/12 from Atletico Madrid. The Spanish goalkeeper was scouted and hand picked as a replacement for veteran goalkeeper, Edwin Van Der Saar, by none other than legendary manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.

During that time he has played over 300 games for the club and has helped them win a Premier League title – which he considers to be his career highlight so far, a League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League crown.

In terms of individual achievements, De Gea is the only Manchester United player to date to win the prestigious Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award on four separate occasions.

Challenging Times

Following a difficult first season with Manchester United, up until the World Cup in Russia 2018, he was widely considered to be the World Best Goalkeeper alongside Bayern Munich and German international keeper, Manuel Neuer.

A standout performance that immediately comes to mind is the remarkable 3-0 win against Liverpool at Old Trafford in 2014. What made this performance so special is that it is the first time that I can remember a goalkeeper being made man of the match.

He has also been responsible for evolving the importance of the goalkeeper position by constantly making remarkable saves with his feet as well as using his remarkable hand reflexes.

The previous season however has shown that his standards have notably slipped following his poor performances for Spain in Russia. This was followed by the latter disappointing games for Manchester United. Most importantly, his below par performance against Barcelona in the Champions League Quarter-final second leg where Lionel Messi’s second goal came from a shot going through De Gea’s legs. There was a similar goal conceded against Chelsea in the league at Old Trafford.

What was also apparent was the low number of Manchester United clean sheets he kept throughout the season.  De Gea only managed seven in the league out of a possible 38 matches and conceded 54 goals.  This was almost twice the number of the 2017/18 campaign where he achieved 18 clean sheets and only let in 28 goals.

The most likely cause of this lack of confidence was due to his uncertain future at the club, and also his inability to recover from his average performances for Spain at last summer’s World Cup.

What next for De Gea and what role should he play for Manchester United?

Manchester United fans must now be hoping that following the resolution of De Gea’s future; he will begin to go back to his previous excellent form.

He does have a key role to play in helping form a “new, more solid spine of the team,” according to former club captain, Gary Neville.

De Gea is now one of the more experienced players at the club and as his current manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer constantly stresses, “he is still one of the world best goalkeepers and holds him in the highest esteem at the club.”

Stats will show that this season De Gea has already managed to match the number clean sheets that he had at Old Trafford from last season (two).

This has been aided by the fact there has been a consistent centre back pairing in Harry Maguire and Victor Lindeloef, a luxury that he did not have in the last campaign.

I believe he should also be made captain, as he is now one of the few Manchester United players who have experienced winning a Premier League title, as well as being one of their most constant performers.

Not only that, but I also liked his answer on his approach to leading a team that he gave in his interview on Monday following the confirmation of his new contract, that also indicates a more positive attitude that should reflect in his performance over the coming months. De Gea said,

“I think that it’s important to have your say but, at the same time, not to go too far or say something to your team-mates in a bad-mannered way. I’m always a pretty calm character, but when something needs to be said, I will say it, especially out on the pitch where I think it’s most important, to give bits of advice to everyone.

To always try and help everyone out, especially the younger lads.  So yes like I say, to always help where possibly I can.”

Other Captain Contenders?

Current club captain, Ashley Young, is no longer a guaranteed first choice starter having moved behind both, Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the full back pecking order.

While other long serving players such as Chris Smailing have gone on loan to Roma and, like with Ashley Young, Phil Jones is no longer a first choice defender.

New signing, Harry Maguire, while he has potential to be club captain, he has not been at the club for long enough.  There is also the added pressure of dealing with being the world’s most expensive defender.

The only other viable contenders at the moment for the captaincy that I can see are Juan Mata, who is not guaranteed to start every game, however he is widely considered to be a model professional and then there is the enigma that is Paul Pogba.

Conclusion: What does the future hold for the Spanish international?

In the short term, David De Gea will have his eyes on regaining his place as Spain’s number one goalkeeper from Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga as well as getting back to his high standards and performances that he produced for previous managers such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.

One thing that is clearly apparent however, David De Gea has a crucial role to play in getting Manchester United back to where they feel they should be, that is competing for league titles over the coming years. 

Preview: Portsmouth v Burton Albion

This evening sees Portsmouth take on Burton Albion at Fratton Park, in the English Football League 1 clash.

For Portsmouth it marks the return to league action after the international break, where they had to postpone their last match with Southend due to International Call ups and when they were due to play Bury. Last Saturday they played Norwich City U21 in a rearranged Leasing Cup match – as Bury have sadly been expelled from the league.

Kenny Jackett’s men will be raring to go having beaten Norwich U21 3-1 with no new injury worries, aside from Lee Brown (Achilles), Marcus Harness (thigh), Bryn Morris (groin) and Jack Whatmough (knee), who were already ruled out.

Gareth Evans is also fit again, after missing the game against Norwich with a dead leg.

Burton however have doubts over Liam Boyce (hamstring) and Scott Fraser (dead leg) – who were both withdrawn on Saturday – and Jake Buxton (ribs).

Portsmouth currently sit 18th in League 1, with just 1 win in the last 5. Burton Albion, who under the guidance of Nigel Clough, are unbeaten in their last 6 games and lie 11th in the table

As Kenny Jackett explained, it will be a tight and tough game.

Burton will be a well organised and resilient outfit to break down, so it should be a good game, as the head to head count below shows:

HEAD TO HEAD
Overall
Pompey: 2 wins
Burton: 1 win
3 draws

At Fratton Park
Pompey: 0 wins
Burton: 0 wins
3 draws

 

Preview: Sunderland v Rotherham United

We look ahead to the Sky Bet League One Match…

SUNDERLAND host Rotherham United at the Stadium of Light, as they look to build on a positive start to their Sky Bet League One campaign.

Jack Ross’s side have made a good start to the season as they look to go one better than the last, having lost in the Play-Off Final. The Black Cats have started with five wins, two draws and one defeat from their seven matches in the league.tar

The Black Cats come into this game on the back of a 3-1 victory over Accrington Stanley at the weekend and having lost just one from their last seven in all competitions.

Rotherham United, managed by Paul Warne, have won three out of four games on the road this season and will be looking to build on the emphatic 6-1 victory over Bolton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.

Speaking ahead of the fixture, Black Cats boss Ross told the Media at Monday’s press conference that winger Duncan Watmore is still missing, however striker Charlie Wyke is back after suspension and injury.

Ross also stated as things stand, the Black Cats have no fresh injury concerns from the weekend’s win over Accrington. This is despite a couple of players being involved who had been carrying injuries.

Speaking after the victory over Bolton on Saturday Millers boss Paul Warne said: “I always think we can be better,”

“If I didn’t I’m not doing my job properly. We’ll watch the game back tomorrow then prepare for Sunderland. We’ll see what things we could have done better.

“We had plenty of chances, first-half. The set-piece caught us cold, even though we haven’t been able to have them watched, I knew set-pieces would be a problem. Someone fell asleep, so that’s a problem.

“But, overall, to score six goals at home in the sunshine, it was a good workout against a good Bolton side. We weren’t playing against an Under-21s – anything but. They did cause us problems, at times, but more often than not, the lads answered the questions.”

Warne admitted that “The lads were trying to score,” saying “We were putting dangerous crosses in. We haven’t had much luck over the last five or six games, I don’t think. Whereas we had a lot of luck today, like Carlton’s second goal with how it fell to him and a deflected shot. You could argue that the scoreline maybe flattered us, I don’t know if we were deserved of more goals but we were definitely deserved of a win.”

Warne believed that he thought Bolton would start really well, saying: “I thought they (Bolton) would start really well. They had a brilliant following and they stood to a man to the final whistle and clapped their team off, which was hugely impressive.

“For them to score early on was a good character test and the lads passed the test.”

Match Prediction

Sunderland 1-2 Rotherham United

Away Ticket News

Ticket Details for Rotherham United fans ahead of the game, it’s been confirmed that Millers supporters can pay on the night at the Stadium of Light ahead of their clash.

There will be no increases in price of tickets on the day of the game – meaning they are priced at:

  • Adults (22-64): £18
  • Senior (65+): £15
  • Under 22: £10
  • Under 16: £17

Proof of concessions will need to be shown at time of purchase and also on the turnstiles at the Stadium of Light on the day of the game. If anyone is unable to show proof of concession at the turnstiles then they’ll be refused entry with no refund possible.

Tickets will remain on sale at the AESSEAL New York Stadium’s Red and White Shop, online at Rotherham United Shop or via phone on 01709 827768 until 12pm Tuesday 17th September.

Tammy Abraham: The Striker for The Blues Future

For the past couple of seasons, Chelsea have struggled trying to find a consistent option for the Number 9 role for the club. With world-class players such as Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuaín attempting to fill the role, there was never that reliable striker option for The Blues. However, have Chelsea found their best striker option – in a player who has been a part of their youth system since 2004?

Tammy Abraham has had an excellent start during the beginning months of the new Premier League season, currently tied with Sergio Agüero of Manchester City with seven goals. After being on loan ever since he was promoted to the senior team in 2016, with stops at Bristol City, Swansea City, and Aston Villa, Abraham has finally gotten his opportunity to shine for The Blues and has made the most of his opportunity.

Prior to the start of the season, Abraham struggled to fill the role. In the UEFA Super Cup match against Premier League foe Liverpool, Abraham missed a penalty during the shootout, leading to a victory for the recent Champions League winners. He had faced racist backlash after the loss but used it as motivation and his play has not let down ever since.

Unseating proven striker options in Oliver Giroud and Michy Batshuayi, Abraham has been on a tear for The Blues scoring at least two goals in the past three games, including a hat trick in a 5-2 victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers on September 14. With this performance, he was the youngest player to score three matches in a match for the club during the Premier League era (21 years, 347 days).

When you are a part of Chelsea and wear the same number as legends including the likes of Fernando Torres and Hernán Crespo, you are expected to perform at the highest level every game. Abraham has so far lived up to those expectations in the early stages of the season, and has answered the prayers of Chelsea fans who were looking for a consistent striker option.

Barnsley 0-2 Leeds United: Whites fitness told as they win Yorkshire Derby

LEEDS United beat Barnsley 2-0 at Oakwell on Sunday afternoon in a pulsating Yorkshire Derby.

Second half goals from Eddie Nketiah and Mateusz Klich secured all three points for Marcelo Bielsa’s troops as they marched back to the top of the table.

Barnsley played well in parts

For biggest parts of the first period of this Yorkshire Derby, Barnsley, who were the home side, showed some good movement as they tried to break the deadlock, trying to stop their West Yorkshire rivals winning consecutive games against the Tykes.

Former Whites player Mallik Wilks looked to cause a few problems for the Leeds defence. However, selfishly going for goals over assists he squandered a good opportunity, and being at a tight angle failed to beat ex Real Madrid keeper Kiko Casilla in goal.

In the second half Casilla had to produce a good stop to deny a Tykes chance on the goal-line, but what the Whites shot stopper  didn’t know that Aapo Halme a fellow ex Leeds player had blocked an header on the line and in doing so was in an offside position.

Substitutions changed the game for Leeds

The fitness levels for Leeds in the last minutes helped them claim the deserved victory, extra energy coming from substitutions definitely helped.

Bringing Helder Costa on at the break for Jack Harrison and Eddie Nketiah for Patrick Bamford with twenty minutes remaining changed the complexion of the game in the favour of Bielsa’s troops.

The fresh legs and ideas that both Costa and Nketiah helped the Whites get over the line in a game which looked to be heading for a goalless draw.

First real involvement for Costa forced Dimitri Cavare into fouling the on-loan Wolverhampton Wanderers winger, from the free-kick which followed, Leeds scored.

Kalvin Phillips, who recently signed a new five-year deal at Leeds, whipped in the free-kick to the back post, skipper Liam Cooper missed it but Nketiah followed in around the back to volley home at the back post.

Nketiah was involved in the second goal aswell after winning a penalty following a foul by Halme on the on-loan Arsenal man.

Polish international Klich calmly slotted the penalty home, giving the travelling fans more reasons to celebrate as they bounced back from a 1-0 defeat last time out against Swansea.

Leeds caused commotion in the stands

Following the opening goal of the game by Nketiah, Leeds fans began to celebrate the goal – out of nowhere a steward raced towards the supporters celebrating their teams opening goal.

The steward seemingly unfairly picked out a certain individual and pushed him down to the ground, before grabbing him around the throat before escorting him away from the ground which lead to the fan getting arrested.

Perfect Response From Leeds

Overall it was a perfect response from the Whites. Losing before the international break, and then returning to winning ways and also returning at the summit at the top of the Championship table.

The next game for Leeds is a re-run of the play-off semi-final from last season, as Derby County arrive at Elland Road on Saturday 21 September – kick-off 12.30pm, you can watch that game live on Sky Sports.

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