Champions League: Alex Ferguson defends 'wobbling' David De Gea

Manchester United goalkeeper has come in for criticism since moving to Old Trafford

David de Gea is taking baby steps to becoming a top-class Manchester United keeper, according to manger Sir Alex Ferguson.

Now nearing the end of his second season at Old Trafford, many observers believe it will be his last.

The summer arrival of Jack Butland at Stoke suggests Asmir Begovic will be on the move, with United long since being viewed as a likely destination.

That would free up De Gea for a return to Spain, ending the difficulties he has endured in the Premier League, with even former United defender Gary Neville turning against the 22-year-old following his blunder at Tottenham last month.

Yet, with Anders Lindegaard also looking shaky, Ferguson has opted to stand by De Gea.

And as he sat alongside the former Atletico Madrid man last night, it was clear Ferguson felt a sense of responsibility for De Gea's development.

"David has shown his character because he has taken a lot of criticism, sometimes unfairly," said Ferguson.

"What we are good at is developing people.

"He came to us as a very young man, not used to the English game and unable to speak the language.

"Also he was still to mature physically.

"But it's like a young kid taking his first steps forward, he wobbles, then gets up, wobbles, then gets up again and eventually he walks.

"The boy is walking now."

De Gea insists he has improved since an £18million arrival from Atletico Madrid.

"Of course when you arrive at a new club it is normal there will be low points," he said.

"The important thing is to learn from them and improve.

"I know I am much better than when I first arrived at Manchester United."

And whilst United arrived in Madrid with a full squad, with the exceptions of Paul Scholes, who is yet to fully recover from a knee problem, and Darren Fletcher, whose season is already over, De Gea was well placed to assess the damage caused to Real by Iker Casillas' hand injury.

"Every time Iker Casillas is not there he is a great loss," said De Gea.

"He is the captain of Real Madrid and Spain.

"They have two other keepers who can do it as well as he does. But it is still a great loss."

PA

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?