Manchester United legend Gary Neville believes that goalkeeper David de Gea is currently the club’s only world-class player.
De Gea, who was named United’s Player of the Year in three consecutive seasons between 2013 and 2016, has been in magnificent form again of late.
The Red Devils came away from their Champions League round-of-16 first leg against Sevilla with a 0-0 draw thanks to the Spaniard’s wonderful reflex save from a Luis Muriel header.
And Neville insists that the 27-year-old, who is being linked to a potential summer move to Real Madrid once more having almost signed for them in 2015, is the clear star of Jose Mourinho’s current squad despite the recent addition of Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.
“De Gea’s the only world-class player Manchester United have got. You could maybe say Sanchez but not at Manchester United yet, even if he has been at a level for the last five or six years that you would say is world class,” Neville told Goal .
“But De Gea’s the only player Manchester United have got at this moment in time that I would say has performed for the club at a world-class level.
“The other player I would say that has done brilliantly well, whether you could say he’s world class or not, is Antonio Valencia over the last two or three years. He’s been outstanding,” Neville added.
“But to me De Gea is their stand-out player in terms of world standard at the club without a shadow of a doubt.”
Neville, who was speaking at the Vimto Salford Challenge which celebrated a new partnership between local fruit juice giants Vimto and the Salford City side he co-owns, added that he has no concerns about Sanchez’s influence on the decreased game time for fellow forwards Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard.
“They are getting games, they’re just not going to play every single week and I would expect Manchester United players to be challenging for places all the time,” he explained.
“The problem for Jose Mourinho at the moment is how you get Romelu Lukaku, Rashford, Martial and Sanchez into a front combination thanks works together. That’s the big question at the moment, who plays on the right? Martial’s been out there, we’ve seen Sanchez out there in a couple of games, and neither of them are ideal out there.
“They’d all probably prefer to play centre forward, Rashford, Martial, Sanchez and obviously Lukaku. So at the moment it’s how they fit into a front three which is the most interesting thing, not which one plays. They have to show they can play together.”