The Red Devils legend hailed the Spain international as “tremendous” and believes he will return to form again soon
David De Gea has been backed to keep his place as Manchester United’s undisputed goalkeeper for the next 10 years by club legend Peter Schmeichel.
De Gea, 29, has faced criticism in recent weeks for conceding goals against Tottenham and, more recently, Bournemouth.
Ex-United stars Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville have all publicly chastised the shot-stopper for his recent performances, while there have been reports that Dean Henderson could take his place when he comes back from his loan spell at Sheffield United.
Schmeichel, however, is full of praise for the Spain international and expects him to remain first choice in the long-term.
“He’s been tremendous for us, there’s no doubt about that,” the former United goalkeeper told the club’s website. “He stuck it through in the most difficult period of modern-day Manchester United history.
“It’s been up and down and, basically, he has been our best player. There’s no doubt about that. Four out of five years being our Player of the Year. That just tells its own story about his performances for the club.
He added: “It’s easy to just blame the goalkeeper, but I’m not going to.
“I’m trying to make a case that every goalkeeper needs to be protected and there’s no doubt that the way the team is playing now, as opposed to when a team plays more defensively, the type of chances that you concede fit into David’s best skills.
“Those kind of saves we’ve seen came from chances created by being defensive. At the moment, we are attacking a lot and that leaves strikers man-to-man. It becomes like a counter-attack. These are the kind of goals we are conceding now.
“I think he needs a bit of time to adjust to the way we are playing.
“If you’re a goalkeeper that has been busy for three or four years, and now you’re not busy, you have to change your game a little bit. You need to find new ways of keeping your concentration, of staying with the game. Everyone has to adjust and I think that’s the same for him as well.
“David is our No.1 – he’s still a young lad, by the way. He could play on for another 10 years. Let’s back him. We should support what we have because we know what we have is really good.”
But the ex-Denmark international stopped short of saying De Gea is the best in his position, as he feels a goalkeeper’s quality depends on him being suited to the team’s playing style.
“My basic philosophy about goalkeeping is it’s impossible to say who is the best goalkeeper in the world,” he said.
“You have to look at the team that they play in and the style of play.
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“I always use the two Manchester goalkeepers as the example. Man City kept the ball and they need their goalkeeper to be far out of his goal and, anything that came over the top, he would deal with that. Also, he needed to be someone who could build up the game, even outside the box.
“If you swapped them over – the way we played under Jose Mourinho, could you see that Ederson would be a good goalkeeper for us? I can’t see it. He’s a different type of goalkeeper and David couldn’t play the game that Ederson was playing.
“I really do believe that a goalkeeper needs to fit the style of play that the team is playing in.”