The case for David de Gea as Manchester United’s player of the season so far

Manchester United’s 2021 is almost complete.

When it comes to choosing Manchester United’s player of the season so far, Cristiano Ronaldo has a strong shout, while Bruno Fernandes has arguably been the best across the calendar year.

But it’s also possible to make a very strong case for David de Gea too, so here are three reasons why the Spaniard is a real contender for the gong when it is handed out at the end of the season…

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He has saved United so many times

It is hard to think of a United win this season where de Gea has not had to come to the rescue at some point.

The highlight was probably the late penalty save at West Ham in September, but the stunning saves have been too many to mention individually.

When he is at his best, there is not a better pure shot-stopper than de Gea in world football.

It does not bear thinking about where United would be in the league without him and no player has made a bigger contribution to results than him.

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Shown character to get back to his best

De Gea was being written off last season.

There were plenty who thought he had lost the battle for United’s number one shirt to Dean Henderson and that he could not reverse the decline which set in in 2018.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said that de Gea came back for pre-season earlier than expected after Euro 2020 with laser focus on getting back to his very best.

The results of that have been clear for all to see on the pitch but do not underestimate the mental strength it takes to silence the doubters at a club as huge as United.

Kept standards high while others slipped

There have been tough times for United this season but de Gea did not allow his level to drop.

He has done the same in previous seasons under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho and it shows his professionalism and leadership.

De Gea was also honest enough to front up after the loss at Watford, admitting that United’s players ‘did not know what to do’ on the ball or how to defend.

He is one of the only players at the club who have won the Premier League and that experience and quality has shone through this season, even in the hardest moments.

Victor Lindelof recently called him ‘phenomenal‘ and on the form he has showed this season, it is hard to disagree.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.