Manchester United had some stand out performers against Olympiakos. And how refreshing it is to use the plural there? Because it’s been such a bad season that there has seldom been more than one player per game who has done himself justice.
Manchester United have, for the most part, been at their clunky worst. But last night many to most of the team put in a solid performance. Giggs was masterful – he simply defies belief.
Apart from him, all three strikers were super, Rio was beautifully composed as ever and Rafael put in another industrious, winners shift.
But Manchester United would undoubtedly be out of Europe today if it wasn’t for David de Gea. The Spaniard is one of the few Manchester United players to come out of this season with any credit. In this, his third campaign at the club, he has ironed out the deficiencies in his game to become a true star of the side.
De Gea initially had problems with the physical aspect of the game but his time in England will only have made him a better player. The same goes for Cristiano Ronaldo. Would he have become the player he is if he had gone straight to Spain? We think not.
Similarly England has toughened De Gea up so that he’s not only supremely skillful but now has real presence.
Technically there is noone better in the world. Where many keepers would parry the most difficult shots, De Gea holds onto everything. It’s as if he’s got super glue on his gloves. His agility and reflexes are sensational, his positioning perfect and his distribution with hand and foot immaculate. Because of that agility we think he’s even better than Bayern’s Manuel Neuer.
As neutral onlookers we would take De Gea over any other keeper in the world. At 23 he has become a man and has another 12 years at the top.
With the two giants in La Liga needing new keepers in the next couple of years Manchester United could seriously struggle to hold on to the sublime Spaniard.
David Moyes needs to offer this lad a bumper new contract ASAP.
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