The national teams are currently together all across the globe, with the various competitions and friendly matches going on. One of them is UEFA Nations League, where all the teams are expected to play a total of four matches across two weeks. But among Man United players currently off international duty is David de Gea.
The Spanish goalkeeper has lost his place in Luis Enrique’s squad and has not been called up once again. Luis Enrique is known for being blunt and not trying to hide what he thinks. That is why it was interesting hearing him explain why he decided against calling up De Gea to Spain’s national team for their matches against Portugal, Czech Republic and Switzerland.
Luis Enrique told Spanish media that Unai Simon is his first choice goalkeeper after accumulating interesting experience, stating that a goalkeeper should start the play and generate the first superiority. He said that his Spain necessitate a goalkeeper which will transmit peace and calmness and that they must dominate the aerial play.
Although it is clear he never mentioned De Gea but rather explained why he called up David Raya of Brentford and Brighton’s Robert Sanchez ahead of De Gea, it is clear Man United’s keeper is not fitting the bill anymore. But what could that mean for De Gea at Man United? Will his role under Erik ten Hag change or will the Dutchman try to find a new goalkeeper in his place?
What is true of Luis Enrique is also true of Ten Hag and his teams. He loves having a goalkeeper comfortable with playing with his feet, starting attacks from the back, the way his Ajax sides have always tried to do in the Netherlands and European football. He prefers goalkeepers which can beat the initial press with calm passing and there is no reason not to expect Ten Hag to try and replicate that at United. So should De Gea feel his place is in danger?
The main answer, for now, should be ‘no’. There are no indications that Man United will go after a goalkeeper this summer and that is probably a right thing to do. There are too many positions in this team that need upgrading and the goalkeeping situation is something that is definitely far from being a priority. So De Gea will be staying and there will not be any new big-name goalkeepers coming in to challenge him.
But this could change next summer. It all depends how De Gea suits himself to a new role. Maybe he adapts nicely to what Ten Hag asks of him, but maybe this coming season will be another exhibit of the Spaniard being far from the role of a modern goalkeeper. If that is to be the case, then next summer could bring in a change between the sticks. Yet for now, De Gea is safe. Ten Hag will give him a chance he lost in the Spain national team…