Belfast Telegraph

Shilton: Derby is acid test for De Gea

Goalkeeping legend Peter Shilton believes David de Gea is facing the acid test of his Manchester United career.

Shilton watched De Gea's early performances following his £18million move from Atletico Madrid last summer through splayed fingers. As the mistakes mounted, it became increasingly obvious De Gea was not up to the task of filling the vacancy created by Edwin van der Sar's retirement.

After conceding four times at Old Trafford last weekend, the former England keeper feels De Gea has to answer some pretty significant questions. He said: "It is possibly the biggest game of his career, and if he can come through it and have a good game, it could clinch the title for United and cement his progress. This derby is the acid test now."

He added: "From a technique point of view, I wasn't totally convinced when I saw him in the early part of the season. He looked very raw, he didn't quite look like a dominating keeper and not what you would expect from Manchester United.

"There have been other keepers who have found it hard to adjust to playing for Manchester United, Fabien Barthez for example, but he has recovered well in the last few months.

"But if he has a wobbly game and United get beaten, people will still be pointing fingers."

Shilton does feel De Gea still has some work to do to prove himself. However, he believes the key will be for the 21-year-old not to let his self-belief dip, no matter how much of a struggle it might be at times.

"He's still got a way to go to justify being at United but he is only a young lad," said Shilton.

"It's all about confidence and self-belief. You've got to focus on doing your job properly, forget about winning the championship and not allow the pressure to get you.

"That is the only way you can play sport. You can't think about what is on the game."

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