De Gea in danger of losing Spanish number one shirt for good
David de Gea's latest performances for Manchester United have left him vulnerable to losing his status as Spain's number one to Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The 28-year-old was beaten at his near post by Patrick van Aanholt’s stoppage-time strike on Saturday as Crystal Palace clinched their first-ever Premier League win over Manchester United.
And it’s a goal he will have been very unhappy about conceding.
The former Atletico Madrid custodian was left exposed for Palace’s first goal of the game and won’t carry any blame and didn’t cop any flak after conceding Ruben Neves’ spectacular effort in last week’s 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
But three games into the season, De Gea is starting to show signs of the flagging form that contributed to United’s diabolical end to last season.
United didn’t keep a clean sheet in any of the their final 11 Premier league matches of 2018-19 and De Gea’s tally of just seven blanks for the season was significantly down on the 18 he managed the season before – which earned him the league’s ‘Golden Glove’ award.
Uncharacteristically, the keeper made four errors which led directly to a goal last term – one of which came in a crucial derby clash with Manchester City in April.
And with Kepa breathing down his neck, how Spain coach Robert Moreno chooses to deploy his goalkeepers in next month’s Euro 2020 qualifiers suddenly becomes more of a debate.
Moreno has already stated he will be showing no favouritism, with neither player guaranteed a starting spot under him for the September double header against Romania and Faroe Islands.
“My goalkeepers are De Gea, Kepa and [Roma’s] Pau Lopez,” Moreno told radio station Cadena SER.
“I like that there is competition. Kepa is not ahead of De Gea, and neither is ahead of Pau.
“I want to get to the Euros with three goalkeepers who are ready to compete. They are all playing at a high level and there are nuances and differences between them. All three have good footwork.
“At Barca, we won the treble alternating goalkeepers.”
Current Chelsea number one Kepa has started each of the national team’s three matches since former head coach Luis Enrique handed the reins to his long-time assistant in March.
De Gea had previously owned the position, but a poor World Cup weakened his standing in his home country and recent displays are unlikely to have restored his former reputation as one of the best in the world.