If we were to level any sort of criticism at Sir Alex Ferguson over the his United tenure, it would arguably be that despite being the most successful manager of all time, there is one department where the great man has at times struggled.
Over the years Sir Alex has seen the likes of Eric Cantona, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Andy Cole and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leading the attacks. Players such as Ryan Giggs, Andrei Kanchelksis, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo have provided the ammunition from the wings. Then we’ve had midfielders such as Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick, defenders like Denis Irwim, Steve Bruce, Jaap Stam and Nemanja Vidic being part of record breaking sides.
One area though that hasn’t been so consistently fulfilled is that of goalkeeper as barring Peter Schmeichel and Edwin Van Der Sar, Ferguson has often struggled to find the right man to occupy such a vital position. When you consider the likes of Jim Leighton, Mark Bosnich, Massimo Taibi, Fabien Barthez, Tim Howard, Roy Carroll and Anders Lindegaard have all at one time or another been United’s first choice goalkeeper that tells its own story.
Yes there have been some success stories- Les Sealey for example is still well thought of by nearly all Reds and is sadly missed by those who remember him. The two legends Schmeichel and Van Der Sar are two of the best keepers of all time, so signing them – especially the Great Dane- was a stroke of genius. Yet there have been far too many players who’ve donned the United gloves when they had no business doing so, players that were obviously out of their depth yet given arguably too much time to prove just how inept they really were. It’s a position that’s been fraught with problems for United for many almost half of Sir Alex’s 26 years in charge of the club.
Now we have a goalkeeper who could potentially reach the dizzying heights both Schmeichel and Van Der Sar did, yet according to the latest reports from Spain he could well be on his way to Real Madrid.
David De Gea has been dropped, publicly criticised, brought back into the side, dropped, brought back into the side and so on and so on.
Despite it being obvious to practically everyone who’s seen both Anders Lindegaard and De Gea play, that it’s the Spaniard who’s the more gifted of the two, Sir Alex seems unsure often ‘rotating’ them and even blaming De Gea for mistakes.
Could anyone really blame the former Atletico Madrid man if he demanded a move, after the treatment he’s had, his future at the club never truly assured?
It’s time for Sir Alex to give De Gea the number one spot ALL season, speak to him, let him know he’s first choice -even if he makes a mistake, enough of the ‘rotation’ we didn’t need it in 1999 or 2008 so why do we need it now?
Should De Gea leave then it may take the next United manager another cycle of the likes of Taibi, Ricardo, Goram and Culkin to find the answer to a position where gambling and taking risks just isn’t really an option. We bought De Gea as a long-term solution, even if he left at the end of his contract he’d still be nowhere near his peak and we’d easily be missing out on his best years.
Am I being melodramatic? Is lindegaard the better option? Could United simply make De Gea see out his contract till 2016?
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