Dean Henderson testing positive for Covid and taking time to get back to full fitness opened the door for David de Gea, who grabbed his opportunity with both hands
David de Gea has taken full advantage of Dean Henderson’s enforced absence to re-establish himself as Manchester United’s No.1 goalkeeper.
After a torrid end to last season, in which he was usurped by Henderson in the Premier League and failed to save 11 penalties in United’s Europa League final shoot-out defeat to Villarreal, De Gea was set to start the new campaign on the bench.
Earning £375,000-a-week, Spain international De Gea was set to be the Premier League’s most expensive substitute, after a decade spent as United’s unrivalled first-choice keeper.
But Henderson testing positive for Covid and taking time to get back to full fitness opened the door for De Gea, who used the opportunity to remind Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United of his enduring class.
De Gea’s stunning double save in United’s 1-0 win at Wolves on Sunday showed the 30-year-old at his very best and drew high praise from one of his predecessors, former United keeper Peter Schmeichel.
“That has got to be the best save of the season already,” tweeted Scmeichel, with three applause emojis to underline just how impressed he was by De Gea’s match-winning second-half exploits.
United team-mate Bruno Fernandes also took to social media to pay tribute to De Gea, posting picture of the Spaniard with an image of a wall, to show how tough it is to score past him.
De Gea’s latest heroics came after he secured a point for United in a 1-1 draw at Southampton, producing a majestic one-on-one save to deny Adam Armstrong a winner for Saints.
The only goals De Gea has conceded so far this season are an unstoppable long-range effort from Luke Ayling in a 5-1 win over Leeds and a deflected strike at Southampton.
Reflecting on his save at the St Mary’s Stadium, De Gea said: “To be honest, it was super quick, I didn’t have much time to think.
“I made the first save and I saw the guy coming again, so I just put my whole body there and I made the double save, so it was a big moment in the game, because after that we scored our goal.
“That’s why I’m here, to help the team all the time, try to give 100 per cent every game and today was a good one.”
Raphael Varane, a £41m summer signing from Real Madrid, made his debut against Wolves and looked assured as he helped keep a clean sheet.
Varane said: “I was very, very happy to be here and to help the team get this victory. The Premier League is very intense. The game is very fast and you know when you play this game, you’re very concentrated and it’s very intense.
“I came here for that feeling. The atmosphere is fantastic and the game is very fast. You have a lot of action during the game.
“You have to be focused and very concentrated, because it never stops. It’s attack, attack, counter-attack and it’s very fast.”