Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel has hit out at the ‘terrible’ treatment of David de Gea, tipping the Spaniard for Old Trafford success.
De Gea, 21, endured a difficult start to life in English football and was heavily criticised in the media after making some high profile errors following his 18.3 million-pound move from Atletico Madrid last June.
But the Spain Under-21 international has made some fine saves in recent weeks – most notably against Chelsea and Norwich – to win United points and keep Sir Alex Ferguson’s side neck-and-neck with rivals Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title.
Schmeichel, who spent eight years at Old Trafford, said he felt for de Gea during his difficult first few months in England but has praised the youngster’s character in proving his ability.
“The media decided before he even played his first game that they were going to absolutely hammer him,” Schmeichel told Goal.com. “That was a way of having a dig at Sir Alex.”
“I thought it was terrible. To be 20 years of age in a different country, not even speaking the language and playing for the biggest club in the world, and to be singled out in that way.”
“It’s not what England is all about, it’s not what I had experienced with England. I felt really sorry for him because England for me is all about fair play. English people are the nicest you can ever meet and I just didn’t recognise English people treating someone like him in that way.”
“Any beginning is difficult but when you’re opening the newspaper every day and it’s all about how bad you are, sometimes even you begin to believe that.”
“It takes enormous character and enormous mental strength to work your way through that – but he’s done that. He’s convinced people that he is a good goalkeeper.”
“When Anders (Lindegaard) comes back from injury, it’s going to be interesting to see what Fergie does then. I’m pretty sure that nothing has changed in his mind, that de Gea has been brought in to be number one now, next year and the next 20.”
“I have no idea if anything has changed but that was the idea in the summer. If you look at de Gea’s performances in the last month, I think he will be really happy with what he’s seen.”