Legendary goalkeeper Alex Stepney, of Manchester United’s 1968 European Cup winning team, knows what it takes to be a success between the sticks at Old Trafford.

Stepney’s views on United goalkeepers should carry more weight than most, and he has praised David de Gea’s start to the season.

Stepney says he is very impressed with the way de Gea has played so far this term.

De Gea was at it again in the Champions League in midweek when United came from behind to beat Atalanta.

Manchester United v Atalanta: Group F - UEFA Champions League
(Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

Stepney told the Times: “It was unknown in my day that the Manchester United goalkeeper would be player of the year.

“That should never be the case for Manchester United. A certain Mr Cristiano Ronaldo might have something to say about this year’s award, but David is playing really well.

“He’s been making some remarkable saves. David was under pressure last season because Dean [Henderson] got his chance and took it. The fact of the matter is that it does wake you up sometimes.

“You’re number one and all of a sudden you’re not. It was bad timing for Dean. He will have to wait for his chance. His next game might be in the FA Cup and that’s a while away unless David gets injured.”

Manchester United v Atalanta: Group F - UEFA Champions League
(Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

De Gea deserves all the praise which is coming his way this season. He has recovered exceptionally well from a period when he faced plenty of questions.


His peak level is better than anything Henderson has reached in his career so far, and that is the standard he is at now.

Henderson will need to be patient in his long-term pursuit of the United number one shirt.

Scott McTominay also had praise for de Gea, in an interview with United’s official website.

“He’s been absolutely brilliant,” he said of de Gea. “My mum said ‘David’s been amazing hasn’t he?’ – she usually gets too nervous to watch the games and can’t watch.

“David has been brilliant, some of the saves he’s made… big moments. He made two big saves the other night, one after the other, which were huge.

“If one of them had flown in, then the momentum was back with them, things like that are so important and people don’t realise the positivity and the reaction that the group has to things like that.

“We want him to make those saves and we need those saves because it’s so important and long may it continue.”

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