| 4.2°C Dublin

De Gea happy fans are behind him

DAVID de Gea is taking a sense of satisfaction just from being mentioned among the candidates to be Manchester United's player of the year.

De Gea endured a nightmare start to his career at the club, which ended in him being dropped by manager Alex Ferguson at the start of 2012.

Had it not been for the ankle injury that may keep Anders Lindegaard out for the rest of the season, De Gea might never have got his place back.

But, given his chance at Chelsea, De Gea has been one of the cornerstones of United's surge to the Premier League summit, leading to suggestions he may be crowned player of the year by the club's fans, an unthinkable prospect three months ago.

"It is nice to know supporters are voting (for) me," said De Gea. "It is always a positive when the fans are behind you. It is something I can sense when I am on the field and makes me feel more relaxed.

"It is a source of extra motivation when you know the fans are right behind you and rooting for you.

"But all that aside, it is just a case of getting your head down, keep working hard and making sure you do have a continuous improvement."

Jonny Evans has suggested De Gea's inability to speak English was a problem in those early days.


Yet leaving for somewhere so different at such a young age may have been part of the problem, along with the weather and the food.

"Before I came, people back home were saying the weather in England is terrible and the food is not much better," he said. "But I am quite a happy, easy-going kind of guy who likes to have a joke around and I like the food, the weather has not been so bad and I am trying to pick up English so I can take part in the banter."

In addition, De Gea has been pushing himself in the weights room, trying to add additional muscle required in a Premier League goalkeeper.

"People are aware I have been trying to gain a little bit of weight in terms of muscle, maybe an odd kilo to bulk up a little bit," he said.

"But football-wise, there are not too many differences. The concentration levels are certainly the same, you can't let them drop for an instant."