Peter Schmeichel has insisted David de Gea is the right goalkeeper for Manchester United and could play on for another decade.
De Gea’s form has been a huge talking point, with the Spain international struggling to maintain the performances which saw him become one of the world’s best goalkeepers.
The 29-year-old has made a number of high profile mistakes for United, most recently a calamitous error in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham, which drew robust criticism from Schmeichel’s former team-mate Roy Keane.
However, United great Schmeichel, who De Gea will overtake as the overseas player with the most appearances for the club the next time he plays, has given the former Atletico Madrid man his full support.
“He’s been tremendous for us, there’s no doubt about that,” Schmeichel told MUTV.
“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.
“David is our number one – 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.”
Schmeichel also suggested the more attacking approach favoured by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is bound to leave De Gea more exposed.
“It’s easy to just blame the goalkeeper, but I’m not going to,” Schmeichel added.
“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.”