Football

Schmeichel makes De Gea prediction ahead of Henderson's Man Utd return


Peter Schmeichel has backed David De Gea and claimed he can play on for another 10 years at Manchester United.

De Gea has come in for criticism this season for high-profile mistakes against Watford and Everton, and more recently against Tottenham and Bournemouth, which led to goals.

That has led to calls for United keeper Dean Henderson – currently on loan at Sheffield United – to replace De Gea next season.

But United legend Schmeichel, who was No.1 between the posts at Old Trafford from 1991 to 1999, said De Gea remains the best man for the job.

De Gea will surpass Schmeichel by making his 399th United appearance at Aston Villa tomorrow, a club record for an overseas player.

Peter Schmeichel has backed David De Gea

“David is our No.1,” said Schmeichel. “He’s still a young lad, by the way.

“He could play on for another 10 years. Let’s back him. We should support what we have, because we know what we have is really good.

“He’s been tremendous for us, there’s no doubt about that. He stuck it through in the most difficult period of modern-day Manchester United history.

“It’s been up and down and, basically, he’s been our best player. There’s no doubt about that. Four out of five years being our Player of the Year. That just tells its own story about his performances for the club.”

David De Gea has come in for criticism this season for high-profile mistakes

Schmeichel reckons United’s transformation under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – playing with a more attacking mindset – goes some way to explaining De Gea’s recent errors.

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“It’s easy to just blame the goalkeeper, but I’m not going to,” Schmeichel told MUTV.

“I’m trying to make a case that every goalkeeper needs to be protected.

“There’s no doubt that the way the team is playing now, as opposed to when a team plays more defensively, the type of chances that you concede fit into David’s best skills.

“Those kind of saves we’ve seen came from chances created by being defensive.

There have been calls for Dean Henderson to replace De Gea next season

“At the moment, we are attacking a lot and that leaves strikers man-to-man. It becomes like a counter-attack.

“These are the kind of goals we’re conceding now. I think he needs a bit of time to adjust to the way we’re playing.

“If you’re a goalkeeper that’s been busy for three or four years, and now you’re not busy, you have to change your game a little bit.

“You need to find new ways of keeping your concentration, of staying with the game. Everyone has to adjust and I think that’s the same for him as well.”

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