Revealed: The great lengths Ferguson went to scout De Gea

The former Red Devils manager felt it was worth skipping one of his team's games to see the then-teenager in action

Sir Alex Ferguson only missed two Manchester United matches during his time in charge, one for his son's wedding and one to scout goalkeeper David de Gea. 

That is according to former Manchester United goalkeeper coach Eric Steele, who says De Gea is now the world's best. 

The 27-year-old underlined his credentials for that title on Saturday in a record-tying performance at Arsenal.

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And Steele has now recounted how the former Red Devils boss first became aware of Atletico Madrid's teenage goalkeeping sensation. 

"I can only remember Sir Alex Ferguson missing two United matches. He missed a Manchester derby in 2000 for his son’s wedding. The other time? To scout the brilliant David de Gea," Steele wrote in the Daily Mail.

"I joined United in 2008 and, from that moment, we needed to be ready for the day Edwin van der Sar retired. 

"I was convinced that a 19-year-old De Gea was the right man to replace him. I showed a three-minute DVD compilation to Sir Alex and then we went to watch him play for Atletico Madrid at Valencia on the night United played Scunthorpe in the League Cup.  

Sir Alex Ferguson, David de Gea, Manchester United

"Sir Alex knew he was the right signing inside 65 minutes. David showed composure, concentration and reflexes. He made one terrific save that went through a load of bodies."

United would go on to sign the Spaniard in June 2011 for £19 million. 

After an initial period of adjustment, De Gea has gone on to establish himself as one of the top shot-stoppers in world football. 

"He makes every kind of save, he dominates his penalty area. He is now the greatest goalkeeper in the world," Steele said.