Tuesday 23 January 2018

Van Gaal: De Gea is different

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and Memphis Depay (centre) celebrate Tottenham Hotspur's Kyle Walker (not pictured) scoring an own goal during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and Memphis Depay (centre) celebrate Tottenham Hotspur's Kyle Walker (not pictured) scoring an own goal during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.

Louis van Gaal claims David de Gea bears little resemblance to the goalkeeper who rescued so many points for Manchester United last season.

United begin their Premier League campaign at home to Tottenham on Saturday but De Gea has been left out of the squad because he has been unsettled by talk of a move to Real Madrid, according to Van Gaal.

The United manager said on the eve of the first game of the season that he felt De Gea was incapable of focusing on the match in hand, which means 22-year-old Sam Johnstone looks set to make his debut against Tottenham at Old Trafford.

Van Gaal admitted United have "problems" with De Gea, who has been unable to "manage his situation," according to the Dutchman.

The United boss claims it would be too much of a risk starting the 24-year-old against Spurs, so he looks set to turn to Johnstone - or new signing Sergio Romero - instead.

"We've observed him in training sessions and matches and he's not the David de Gea of last year," Van Gaal said.

"He tries and does (his) utmost best, but it's a difficult situation.

"Now we have to play our first match and I want players who can focus only on the match and he is not capable to do that.

"He shall not play."

United have maintained all summer they will not sell De Gea to Real Madrid unless they get Sergio Ramos in return.

That stance remains the same, despite Van Gaal's latest terse words on the subject.

"No, I don't think so," Van Gaal said when asked if Real Madrid had matched their valuation of De Gea.

"We are asking money and they have to pay money. In recent years Manchester United have paid a lot of money on players and not received a lot for our players.

"He's the best goalkeeper we've had for the last three years, I believe," Van Gaal said.

"The last two years he was nominated by the fans as the best player at the club. Do you think the coach wants him to leave? I don't think so. The player still has to manage this situation."

It is easy to see why United are so desperate to hold on to De Gea.

The former Atletico Madrid goalkeeper played a huge part in United's push for Champions League qualification and rightly earned his second successive player of the year award at the club's annual awards in May.

Van Gaal thinks the situation would not be so messy if the transfer window shut before the start of the season.

He added: "I am the victim, the fellow players are the victims, the club is the victim. That's why the transfer period has to change.

"When we are at September 1 then there is a decision because then the transfer period is over.

"Then we have to manage the new situation. It may be easier but I don't know. We have to see and wait. I have to observe."

Van Gaal also spoke for the first time about Angel di Maria's exit from Old Trafford.

On Thursday Di Maria joined Paris St Germain for £44.3million, less than 12 months after signing for United for an English-record £59.7million fee.

''For us that's a big loss,'' Van Gaal said.

''I want more attackers with speed and creativity. Di Maria is one of those players so we have to look for that kind of player, but they have to have the talent to cope with the English rhythm and that's difficult to find."

Explaining the events of the last few weeks when Di Maria failed to show up for United's pre-season tour and then signed for PSG, Van Gaal said: "He left us very quickly (at the end of last season) because he had to go to the Copa America so I didn't want to disturb him on his way to the final.

"I text him only messages (about) how it was with him and then PSG... and then we - us and PSG - have to consider if it (a transfer) is possible.

"When you don't come on the tour on the day we agreed then you are showing you want to go to Paris St Germain."

Press Association

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