Football

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer offers David De Gea backing as ace hits landmark


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed David De Gea to carry on as United’s No 1 for another 10 years. De Gea, still just 29, will reach the landmark of 400 appearances for United when he wears the gloves against Southampton at Old Trafford tonight. But his manager believes he still has the hunger to carry on for years yet and not stop until he has won every piece of silverware with United.

“David has won the Premier League, he has won the FA Cup and the Europa League and League Cup,” said the United boss.

“Not having one more is something he will feel is a black dot in his career.

“Yes he has won his personal awards but I don’t think that David is the type that cares about personal awards. I think he wants the team to lift the big trophies.

“He has come out and said he wants to play for many years, maybe 10 more years. How long he is able to stay at the top is just up to him.”

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De Gea has overcome wobbles in his Old Trafford career since signing from Atletico Madrid aged 20 in 2011.

There was an initial weakness at set pieces which he overcame and a series of high-profile blunders both last season and again during this campaign.

Yet Solskjaer insists he never thought “for one second” about taking him out of the firing line and says the strength of his character has never been in doubt.

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“To be a Man United goalkeeper you have to have a strong mentality and David has a strong mentality,” said Solskjaer.

“He has been here so long and you don’t get to 400 games by being afraid of the limelight or being afraid of Old Trafford.

“You do that by walking out on the pitch again and showing your quality and mentality. He is a strong strong character.”

De Gea passed Peter Schmeichel’s record of 398 appearances and the great Dane added his tribute speaking on the United Podcast.

“There have been trophies over the last nine years and David will want more of those before he’s done,” said Schmeichel. “But he’d far rather pick up a few more winner’s medals than Player of the Year trophies, I’m certain.

“Nine years at Manchester United is a long time and reaching 400 appearances for the club is a huge landmark which very few players have managed to do, but David’s got a long way still to go.

“Some of the saves he has made have been absolutely phenomenal. But he’s a young lad and could play on here for another 10 years and be a big part of United’s future.”

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