2012/13 Barclays Premier League
Winning the 2007 Under-17 European Championship, De Gea's international career began much earlier than his club one and he also finished second at the Under-17 World Cup in the same year. He came through the ranks at Atletico and, after impressing for the reserve side, was given his chance to shine when Sergio Asenjo made some high profile errors in the 2009-10 season. Quickly establishing himself as the Rojiblancos No. 1, he helped the side win the Europa League and also starred in the UEFA Super Cup win over Inter Milan in 2010.
Linked with replacing Edwin van der Sar at Manchester United, De Gea's star was on the rise and after an excellent showing for Spain as they won the European Under-21 Championship, he put pen to paper and signed for the English champions in June 2011.
His debut season at Old Trafford was a mixed bag to say the least though a slow start was improved upon in the second-half of the campaign, when he began to get to grips with the physical side of the Premier League. De Gea's initial rocky patch saw him replaced by Anders Lindegaard in January but an injury to the Danish keeper allowed him to step back into the breach and after reclaiming the No. 1 spot he held on to it until the end of 2011-12.
Strengths: An outstanding shot-stopper, he has an eye for a spectacular save and an impressive amount of experience for such a young goalkeeper.
Weaknesses: Susceptible to shots from outside the penalty box, he also lacks physicality and was outmuscled on too many occasions in his debut season in England.
Career high: Having won the Europa League, De Gea then saved a penalty as Atletico beat Inter Milan 2-0 in the subsequent UEFA Super Cup.
Career low: A shaky start to his United career was compunded by a shocking display against Blackburn on New Year's Eve 2011, which led to a surprise 3-2 defeat. He was then dropped from the starting line-up, replaced by Anders Lindegaard.
Style: Agile and acrobatic, a talented youngster who could become one of the best.
Quotes: "He's just a unique talent. Ultimately, I think they come around in cycles. Iker Casillas was 17 when he got in the Real Madrid team, I saw Gianluigi Buffon when he was 17... The qualities we've all seen, and the manager has seen, have ticked the boxes. There is always an element of 'can they handle 76,000 at Old Trafford?' but I've seen him play at the Nou Camp, man of the match. Not fazed." Manchester United goalkeeper coach Eric Steele, July 2011.
Trivia: His team-mates at Atletico nicknamed him Van der Gea, because of his physical likeness to the Dutchman, and his similar style.
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