Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United new dawn is in full effect. The brutal side of ten Hag’s mentality was on full display with the acrimonious David De Gea saga.
A saga which threatened to drag on throughout the summer but came to an abrupt close when the Spanish international announced he would be leaving the club after 12 years as no. 1 goalkeeper.
We caught up with former Manchester United defender Paul Parker who detailed his thoughts on de Gea’ legacy at the club, and the successor to de Gea in Andre Onana. Onana joined the Reds from Inter Milan for a reported fee of £43.9m
Erik ten Hag never really fancied David De Gea
For much of last season there was a feeling that Erik ten Hag was never quite comfortable with having David de Gea as his number one. Whilst the Spaniard is a well renowned shot stopper, his ability with the ball at his feet has long been questioned.
Especially with the likes of Ederson, Allison and David Raya all coming into the league and displaying their passing ability and comfortability with the ball at their feet.
de Gea’s exit has seen Andre Onana step in as his replacement. However, Parker feels de Gea had it hard during his time at Old Trafford due to the quality of the players paid to protect him in defence. He goes one further and claims De Gea was better than club legends such as Edwin van der Saar and Peter Schmeichel.
“Everyone knew what Erik ten Hag wanted to do. He never really fancied David De Gea and the way he plays.”
“But the problem is that De Gea is a club hero. If you were to talk about great goalkeepers at Man United you would think of Edwin van der Saar, Peter Schmeichel and David De Gea and I would even put David De Gea down as the best one.”
“David De Gea has never had the best defence in front of him compared to the other two and that’s what makes him special. He has had to earn the right to get respect through his own performances.”
“Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sarr never had to work as hard as David De Gea did. He has had a tough time to be honest but he is a Man United great, you can´t take that away from him.”
Goalkeepers have to be as good as midfield players and it’s rubbish claims Parker
The evolution of football has meant that almost all goalkeepers are expected to be good with the ball at their feet. Something de Gea was never quite successful at. It’s an aspect of the game which Parker feels has made the game harder for goalkeepers.
“But goalkeepers have to be as good as the best midfield players on the ball now, which has killed a lot of goalkeepers. It’s just rubbish in my opinion.”
“David De Gea wasn´t the best with his feets but the defenders kept making it difficult for him with giving him the ball in certain situations where they shouldn’t. If your striker isn’t good in the air, would you keep making high crosses to him? Absolutely not.”
“I´m sure that David De Gea feels that he has been let down by both his teammates and the fans. At least all the FIFA fans that only look at the kicking stats on their FIFA card. They are not watching the game and they don´t understand the game.”
“I was a huge David De Gea fan and I’m still a big fan of him and even more so because of what he had to deal with even though he kept Man United in so many games even though they didn’t deserve it.”
Onana has a lot to prove after taking over from one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time
Parker claims to not be worried by the goal conceded by Onana at the weekend. The Cameroonian international was lobbed from just inside his own half against RC Lens at the weekend after an astray pass from Diogo Dalot.
However, Parker warns that Onana will be under immense pressure coming in as tje replacement for de Gea who he considers to be one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.
“Now, Andre Onana has arrived and we can´t judge him yet. I never want to judge someone during the pre-season. Everyone is talking about that goal he conceded against Lens but he was taking the exact same position as Ederson or Allison usually does when a team is in good possession but outfield players make mistakes, that’s how it is.”
“He will be under serious pressure. That’s how it is at Manchester United and everyone will look at him and tell him that it was his fault every time Man United are conceding a goal.”
“People will find reasons to question him and they will judge him very harshly. I think he is a good goalkeeper and I´m looking forward to watching him play for Man United but he also has a point to prove after taking over for one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.”