New Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has concerns over goalkeeper David de Gea fitting into his system
According to ESPN (h/t Metro), incoming new Manchester United permanent manager Erik ten Hag has concerns over how goalkeeper David de Gea would fit into his system and whether the player could adapt to his style of play.
The Dutchman is expected to take over at Old Trafford in the summer, after he completes his final season with Ajax Amsterdam, with the head coach looking to guide them to a hat-trick of Eredivisie titles and signing off in the best possible manner.
The 52-year-old will be United’s fifth permanent manager since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, and tasked with rebuilding a side that has fallen off the grid in terms of trophies and success, while their rivals continue to pull away from them.
From that successful 2013 title-winning squad under Sir Alex, only de Gea and Phil Jones remain. While Jones has been a forgotten player of late due to his injury issues, the Spanish shot-stopper has arguably been the club’s best performer over the last decade.
Suitability for ten Hag’s system
The 31-year-old has firmly established himself as the first-choice keeper in the side, but that could change in the upcoming campaign as incoming new boss ten Hag is said to have concerns about the Spaniard’s suitability for his system.
Although the Dutchman has more pressing issues to address within the squad in the summer, de Gea’s place in his plans could pose an interesting dilemma. Furthermore, backup keeper Dean Henderson is also itching for a move away from the club in order to play more minutes, but the Red Devils have insisted that their preference for the Englishman is for him to go on a season-long loan instead.
de Gea is a crowd favourite at the Theatre of Dreams, wowing the fans with his sharp reflexes and shot-stopping ability for the better part of nearly a decade. At a time when United have been struggling for consistency on the pitch, the Spaniard has shone brightly at the back.
Many have been left wondering whether the Red Devils would have made it to the top four in the past if not for de Gea’s wonder-saves to keep them in games. There is a reason he has been the first-choice under all the different managers he has played under.
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However, in the modern game where rival keepers like Alisson and Ederson are hailed for their ability with their feet as well as their hands, de Gea falls short. Anyone watching United will be able to tell you that he is not the most comfortable with his feet, and could do better at claiming crosses from the opposition.
His ability to pull off sharp saves is nearly second to none, but perhaps these other shortcomings in his game may cause concern for ten Hag, who is keen to implement his system at United. After all, it brought him great success at Ajax, and it remains to be seen whether he can replicate that at Old Trafford.