Tuesday 20 August 2019

Quique Sanchez Flores looking forward to David De Gea reunion

David De Gea, pictured, worked with Quique Sanchez Flores while the two were with Atletico Madrid
David De Gea, pictured, worked with Quique Sanchez Flores while the two were with Atletico Madrid

Quique Sanchez Flores has revealed that he is looking forward to a reunion with Manchester United's David De Gea, having given the goalkeeper his break.

Watford host United in the Premier League on Saturday, seven seasons after Sanchez Flores promoted De Gea into Atletico Madrid's first team, and his former manager, now in charge at Watford, believes he has matured into the world's best.

De Gea was Atletico's third choice when Sanchez Flores was appointed manager in October 2009 but he ended the season in the first team and close to making Spain's victorious squad for the 2010 World Cup.

Since then he has proved himself a suitable successor to Edwin van der Sar at United and been the subject of intense interest from Real Madrid, but Sanchez Flores - who the goalkeeper grew so close to he bought him a pocket watch as a present - believes he should remain in the Premier League, and is convinced that his experience in England has been vital to his development.

"I gave David his debut. He was the third-choice 'keeper and after one month he was first choice," Sanchez Flores said.

"He was amazing. You just need to focus on the training and watch how he is taking the ball and handling it.

"For me he is probably the best goalkeeper in the world. I got a present after two years when we separated, it was a clock.

"The watch is an antique, golden on a chain. You wear it in your pocket. It is very English. I don't remember but I think there was an inscription. I still have it. I won't wear it, that's too much.

"(But) he has everything, he is more than a goalkeeper. He can control everything, the ball in the air. He is good in the goal and out of the goal. For me he is the top three best goalkeepers in the world.

"It would be perfect for the Premier League for him to stay and perfect for him. He needed to come here to learn.

"I've talked a lot about De Gea but with his confidence it will be very difficult to score past him.

"I have (a special relationship with De Gea). (And) with (David) Silva and (Sergio) Aguero, I wanted to wait until after the game because I don't like to speak to opponents before the game. I try to respect. I don't like my players to see me having a relationship with other players, hugging them. I will wait in my dressing room, for sure. After the game, of course, I will spend time with him."

United visit Watford after a period in which they have been labelled boring by their own fans, owing to their predictability and lack of goals.

Flores, however, does not agree with that verdict, and believes that not only is their ball retention "amazing" but that United will improve further.

"I t is amazing ball possession," he said. "This is a process. (Their manager Louis) Van Gaal is doing a bit to respect the style of play, to keep the ball and after with the idea to (score). It is not boring. At the moment they are doing their first objective - to keep the ball.

"The other part of the process is to be offensive, aggressive in the last third. Maybe at the moment they are not so aggressive in the last third but they are efficient, because they are shooting three and put three in the goal. So it is a process."

PA Media

The Left Wing: The 'hell' of World Cup training camp, Ireland's half-back dilemma and All Blacks uncertainty

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport