1st Team Goalkeepers: David de Gea (21), Anders Lindegaard (28), Sam Johnstone (19), Ben Amos (22) [on loan at Hull]
It’s safe to say that wasn’t quite the debut season David de Gea had in mind when he made the move from Atletico Madrid, but a strong second half of the campaign ensured he’s far from a write off just yet. In the first few months of the season he was roundly criticised for not being able to handle the generic ‘tough stuff’ often ascribed to the Premier League. There may be a kernel of truth in that, but it falls some way sort of explaining the variety of errors from de Gea.
Personally, I would put his mistakes down to over-thinking. Essentially, what we have is a young man in a foreign country doing one of the most high pressure jobs in world football. Certainly in his early days, his desire not to make mistakes seemed to make his sluggish to react and he failed to execute some fairly routine skills. As he settled however, he felt more comfortable and his natural instincts came into play. He was far sharper and alert in the second half of the season and if he maintains the progression, United may well have a high quality performer for the next decade or more.
Anders Lindegaard was the man who capitalised on de Gea’s troubles early on. He was very determined to become first choice at Old Trafford and he impressed when Fergie chopped and changed in the early part of the season. His honeymoon period wasn’t going to last forever and some ill-advised decisions of his own made him look less like the answer to United’s goalkeeping issues. He still remains a good option to have in reserve, but certainly de Gea is expected to be first choice for the majority of the season.
Ben Amos has been allowed to go out on loan to Hull for a season. He has performed reasonably well when called up for first team duty, but barring an injury crisis, he’s unlikely to see much playing time this season and the move makes sense. Sam Johnstone could also benefit for first team action somewhere, but Fergie might just keep him around for the occasional Capital One Cup outing.
With Robin van Persie coming on board, it’s a time for optimism at Old Trafford, but if de Gea’s development hits a stumbling block, it has the potential to derail the progress.