While the build-up to Manchester United‘s weekend encounter with Tottenham Hotspur revolved around Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Mauricio Pochettino, only one man came out of the fixture grabbing all the headlines: Red Devils’ shot-stopper, David De Gea.
The Spanish international put up a phenomenal show, as he made 11 saves in the second half to ensure his side left Wembley with a clean sheet and all 3 points.
It is an undeniable fact that the 27-year-old is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and the story of how Manchester United signed him suggests that the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson predicted this outcome on the very first day.
Eric Steele, the Mancunian giants’ former goalkeeping coach, shed light on the entire incident, as he revealed (via Daily Mail): “I can only remember Sir Alex Ferguson missing two United matches. He missed a Manchester derby in 2000 for his son’s wedding. The other time? To scout the brilliant David de Gea.
“I joined United in 2008 and, from that moment, we needed to be ready for the day Edwin Van Der Sar retired. I was convinced that a 19-year-old De Gea was the right man to replace him.
“I showed a three-minute DVD compilation to Sir Alex and then we went to watch him play for Atletico Madrid at Valencia on the night United played Scunthorpe in the League Cup.
“Sir Alex knew he was the right signing inside 65 minutes. David showed composure, concentration and reflexes. He made one terrific save that went through a load of bodies.
“It was a brave decision to commit £17m to a 19-year-old goalkeeper. Sir Alex had been patient with young outfield players before but this was the first time he did it for a goalkeeper.”
Not only does this story showcase the brilliance of Steele as well as Ferguson, but it also goes on to highlight the patience the Scot showed while nurturing young talents, and how it rewarded the entire club for years to come.