0 GettyImages 1168085426 1 - David de Gea has a new Manchester United role after signing new contract

0 GettyImages 1168085426 1 - David de Gea has a new Manchester United role after signing new contract

There was one particular quote from David De Gea that caught the eye following the announcement of his new Manchester United contract.

The message in it was similar to the one De Gea broached last time he faced the media, on a pre-season stop-off in Shanghai two months ago when it was thought a six-year contract had been signed and sealed.

The goalkeeper, on the back of those reports, announced his desire to become United captain.

In that regard, De Gea hasn’t got what he wanted, thanks to the protracted nature of the negotiations. But he does have a bumper new deal, which is understood to be worth around £78million — even before the option for an extra 12 months has been triggered.

The words this time from De Gea were more general, speaking of his desire to lead, to assist in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s quest to bring through young talent at Old Trafford.

“As one of the senior players in the squad, I want to support and lead in any way that I can to assist the younger players, so they know what it means to play here,” he said.

“I still feel that I have so much more to achieve at the club and I truly believe that Manchester United can build on the club’s tradition of success and reward our fans for their support.”

 

De Gea, having won the Premier League in his second United season (and coming within one goal of winning it in his first), certainly has more to achieve where trophies are concerned.

READ  Manchester United's forgotten man deserves a final lifeline on injury return

Yet maybe he feels his new role is as a pillar of stability during increasingly turbulent times at United. A steady hand on the tiller. A rock for Solskjaer to lean on. The reaction from United fans to the 28-year-old’s new contract was therefore instructive; most believe it to be a crucial piece of business for the club. There were many who went as far as to suggest De Gea’s hitherto patchy form will now give way to a more focussed, more composed United No.1.

De Gea has made a habit of proving people wrong when they’ve doubted his commitment to United. He followed yesterday’s announcement by posting the words “there’s no place like home” on his social media accounts and, should he see this contract through to its conclusion, he’ll have given United 13 years of service. Not bad for someone supposedly “desperate” to move to Real Madrid, or Paris Saint-Germain.

 

No, De Gea is here to stay and impart his experience on the next generation. That may not necessarily include Dean Henderson, for whom an extended De Gea stay could now mean a permanent exit from Old Trafford. The 22-year-old will not stick around for four years waiting for De Gea to leave, especially if he proves himself on loan at Sheffield United in the Premier League this term.

Solskjaer’s intention to develop young players like Mason Greennwood, Angel Gomes and James Garner, while signing up-and-coming stars like Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka is laudable.

But United have lacked leaders for a number of years now.

READ  Inter confirm Sensi injury

De Gea didn’t get the captain’s armband, not officially anyway. The delay over his new contract meant Solskjaer went with the ever-steady Ashley Young for that job.

The Spaniard will, however, wear the armband regularly on the pitch this season and could still get the job for real in 12 months’ time.

It hardly matters though, for De Gea will certainly do what he knows: cajole, encourage and, most importantly, save.

United have made a statement in tying down one of their few world class players to a long-term contract and that may even have positive ramifications on the Paul Pogba situation; it could persuade other players (James Maddison or Jadon Sancho, for example) that United are worth joining again.

But most importantly it will make everyone — fans, first team players and the youngsters De Gea speaks about — feel a little more assured. That’s the role of De Gea, the custodian.

Leave a Reply