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'De Gea has shown huge character and mental strength' - Lindegaard praises former Man Utd team-mate

20:40 GMT+3 09/06/2019
David de Gea Manchester United 2018-19
The Burnley goalkeeper has praised the Spaniard's attitude in the face of heavy criticism early on in his Red Devils career

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard has praised David de Gea for overcoming a rocky start to life at Old Trafford and become one of the world’s best.

The Danish shot-stopper made 29 appearances for the Red Devils across five seasons and competed closely with the Spaniard for the number one shirt soon after the latter signed from Atletico Madrid in June 2011.

De Gea came under fire for making errors early on in his United career, but Lindegaard feels the public were too harsh on his former team-mate in those days.

“He got way too much grief in the beginning on the crosses part of his game,” he told the Evening Standard.

“He wasn’t as dodgy as people made him out to be. He just had to adjust his decision making to English football and grow a few kilos. 

“David has been a world class goalkeeper since he arrived in England, my first impression of him was he was young, but a huge talent. Much bigger talent than I ever was. 

“I think the biggest hurdle he had to overcome was to win respect from team mates, media and fans. He struggled in the beginning.

“But his mental strength to overcome the difficult periods is what has impressed me the most. 

“From where he was at the worst in his first season to where he took it and is today - that shows huge character and mental strength.”

De Gea has since gone on to cement himself as one of the Premier League’s finest goalkeepers and has made over 300 appearances for Manchester United, as well as lifting the Premier League title in 2013.

Lindegaard, now plying his trade at Burnley, lost the battle for the starting spot at United due to an ankle injury and claims the turning point for his team-mate came while he sat on the treatment table.

“I clearly remember a turning point,” he continued.

“The first game he played after my ankle injury was against Chelsea away. Last minute free kick just outside the box.

“Juan Mata took it and shaped the ball perfectly over the wall towards the near top corner. David saved it and the match ended 3-3. 

“Breaking the save down it wasn’t as good as it looked but David gambled on that corner and won.

“If he had lost, the media and fans would have been ready to lynch him. Instead he became a sensation after that moment.”