The former Red Devils stopper has praised his successor at Old Trafford, insisting he was one of the key factors in his old club winning the Premier League last season.
De Gea has produced several impressive performances this season, and he pulled off a magnificent save to deny Emanuele Giaccherini against Sunderland last weekend with the Black Cats already 1-0 up. Van Der Sar insists he has been impressed with his successor's progress since joining the club as the world's second-most expensive goalkeeper at just 20 years of age.
"It is unbelievable," van der Sar, former United goalkeeper and now marketing director at Ajax, told reporters at the Leaders in Football Conference. "He came from different league, he was young. He was 20 when he came.
"He came from Spain, he didn't speak the language. There is different food, different tactics, different methods of training. Corners and free-kicks, balls in the box - that is different to the Spanish league. It was normal he could have some troubles in the beginning.
"I think the way he turned the corner from January onwards has been a real benefit for United and one of the two or three reasons they won the league.
"His physique is better. He worked really well with [former goalkeeping coach] Eric Steele and the physical coaches and that is the way you improve.
"He is still so young but already experienced. Hopefully he will get a chance in the national team also."