Peter Schmeichel hails mental strength of Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea

 

Peter Schmeichel has hailed the mental fortitude that has allowed David de Gea to recover from his nightmare start at Manchester United.

After a three-match absence triggered by the removal of his wisdom teeth, the Spanish goalkeeper is hoping for a recall when United look to consolidate their place at the top of the Barclays Premier League by beating West Ham at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

And, with the exception of Anders Lindegaard, there would be few complaints.

For although reservations still exist over De Gea's ability to command his penalty area, the 22-year-old's agility is beyond question.

And Schmeichel believes, just to reach this point, De Gea has shown an impressive mental strength.

"I admire David," the Dane said. "I cannot remember anyone coming into Manchester United and being criticised the way he was.

"He was ridiculed every day. He was the subject of every debate in the media. Yet he still went out there with a smile on his face and managed to dig himself out of it.

"Very slowly he is working his way away from what people thought of him 18 months ago.

"You haven't seen him defend himself in the media or shifting the blame elsewhere. He just gets on with it.

"He is young. At 22 he has things to learn but, mentally, there is definitely material there."

Schmeichel knows he is the man all United goalkeepers are judged by.

With his shock of white hair, massive frame and explosive temper, Schmeichel was an intimidating presence, taking command of every situation almost naturally.

It was not unusual for Schmeichel to come flying through a crowded penalty area to make a clearance or catch, then berate his own defenders for having the temerity to get in his way.

De Gea has neither the personality nor, more importantly, the physical presence, to emulate Schmeichel.

Yet the man who captained United to their 1999 Champions League final triumph over Bayern Munich in his last game for the club insists it no longer matters.

"I was a different goalkeeper to David," he said.

"I wouldn't mind fighting for the ball in the air. But that is not what goalkeepers do these days. There is no need for it.

"The accent on football has changed. Striking the ball has changed.

"David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo started that. They have shown a way to strike a ball differently, so that means the quality of what comes into the box is different, which makes goalkeeping more difficult.

"If you look at the world's top young keepers, I would say (Bayern Munich and Germany goalkeeper) Manuel Neuer is the only one who actually comes for the ball. Generally, that is not the way it is."

Instead, they have become auxiliary sweepers, which is another area where De Gea excels.

"You only have to go 25 years back and a goalkeeper would boot the ball into the corner, the striker would chase it and get a cross in as quickly as possible," Schmeichel said.

"That is not the way we play any more. Spain are double European champions and World Cup winners. Their way is the most effective way.

"These days passes are being made just two or three yards out of goal and they are being made to people who are being marked. That was an absolute no-no when I played.

"The guys now are so good with their feet.

"It is about keeping the ball and that is why goalkeepers are so important."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London