Manchester United need to keep David De Gea, insists Roy Carroll
Former Manchester United goalkeeper Roy Carroll is hoping his old club can hang on to current Old Trafford number one and Real Madrid target David de Gea.
The Northern Ireland hero has been hugely impressed by the Spaniard's form this season and says that should, as expected, United qualify for the Champions League, Louis van Gaal will have De Gea to thank.
Carroll has kept a close eye on De Gea's development at United, having been there and done it himself.
The Fermanagh native was just 23 when he was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson from Wigan in 2001. He arrived as understudy to Fabian Barthez, yet during a four-year spell at the club was often the first choice.
Like De Gea, brought in by Ferguson four years ago when he was just 20, Carroll was criticised early on in his United career, though showed his mettle to win Premier League and FA Cup honours.
De Gea, also a title winner, has been outstanding during a tricky first season at United for Van Gaal, so much so that Real Madrid want to sign him.
Notts County's Carroll said: "De Gea has had a great season. I think he is the man who has helped put Manchester United in the Champions League spot.
"I know there's been a lot of talk about him moving to Real Madrid at the end of the season, but I'd like to see him stay.
"You want to see quality like him playing in the Premier League and at United. They could do with keeping him.
"He had a lot of stick when he first signed for United. He was a young lad then and I felt for him but he has come through that. He is still young now and has really proven himself. It is going to be hard for United to keep him if they don't make the Champions League, so it is vital for them to achieve that."
United looked certs to finish in the top four until they lost their last three league games. With three left they lead fifth-placed Liverpool by four points.
Asked if Liverpool will pip United at the post, Carroll said: "I think Liverpool threw it away when they lost at Hull City. That was a big chance for them with United struggling lately. There are only three games left now and I think Man U will see it home and finish fourth."
Everyone at Old Trafford and throughout the football world was saddened to hear last weekend's news that former United favourite Rio Ferdinand's wife Rebecca had passed away, aged 34, after a short battle with cancer.
Carroll, who played with Ferdinand at Old Trafford, said: "Rebecca was a lovely woman. When Rio and I were at United together my wife and I were close to Rio and his wife.
"We were good friends and I was saddened and shocked to hear the awful news.
"Rio is a great man and he will be hurting. My thoughts and condolences are with Rio and his family."