Solskjaer: "De Gea has been best in the world for a decade"
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer joined Peter Schmeichel in heaping praise on "world's number one keeper" David de Gea ahead of his appearance record.
In Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's opinion, David de Gea has been the world's best goalkeeper for a decade. The Spaniard is poised to overtake United great Peter Schmeichel as the overseas player with the most appearances for the club, having initially joined from Atlético Madrid in 2011.
A number of high-profile mistakes, including a calamitous error in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham, have led to questions over the Spain international's future as number one, especially with Dean Henderson thriving on loan at Sheffield United. But after Schmeichel insisted De Gea is the right goalkeeper for United over the long-term, Solskjaer agreed.
De Gea, almost a decade at Old Trafford
"David has had some fantastic seasons here now and next year is his 10th," Solskjaer said ahead of United's away Premier League game against Aston Villa on Thursday. He has proven [former goalkeeping coach] Eric Steele right, that we believed in him. He had a little bit of a tough ride early on, with the physicality of football in England, but, for me, he has been the best goalkeeper in the world over the last nine or 10 years. Just to work with him closely, you see he's still keen to learn, he's still working hard. Richard [Hartis] coming in with Craig [Mawson] as the coaches, I think they've reignited a little bit of a spark in David and he's working really hard in training."
The back problem sustained by centre-back Victor Lindelof against Bournemouth was described as "not bad" and he may be able to play a part against Villa. If not, Eric Bailly is likely to step in, with Solskjaer not feeling pressure to rotate his squad as he ponders whether to name an unchanged starting XI for the fourth straight top-flight game.
"There are not many that haven't played in the last two weeks," he said of his players not in that team. "They all know they are fit and available, that they are valued. It's not an issue. There are so many things to play for. Trophies - the FA Cup, the Europa League - but also the top four in the league. The group is very tight knit and they all know they've got a part to play."