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The Battle to be United's No.1

Sid Saturday, July 30, 2011

Around the same time last year, Anders Lindegaard was an unknown to most United fans and even after he was signed in January we really didn’t get to see him in action except for 2 appearances in the FA cup. On the other hand, David De Gea has had people raving on about his talent and ability for quite a while now. Having usurped the talented Sergio Asenjo from the no. 1 position at Atletico Madrid, he has been long touted as the man who would replace Iker Casillas as the Spanish No. 1.

So with such stark differences in their career so far and also the amount of money spent by United to purchase them, there should have been no doubts that De Gea would start the season as the no. 1 GK. But the pre-season tour has seen Anders Lindegaard stand out with excellent performances whenever he’s played, and he has rightfully garnered quite a few fans among the United faithful.

So why is there even a doubt whether De Gea will start the season as no. 1? Well here are the best reason’s that I can think of:

While the two are of the same height, Lindegaard is clearly physically the better player, something essential for a GK to survive in the premier league,  and in a recent interview Sir Alex had commented on De Gea’s need to bulk up:

“At the moment, he hasn’t got a great physique, he’s tall and wiry but we will work on that.”

Another factor in Lindegaard’s favour is that he has been at the club since January and has had time to get settled in and get used to life in England. Whereas De Gea hasn’t been at Manchester very long, maybe a week or two at most, how long he takes to settle in only time will tell.

But the biggest advantage that the Dane possesses over De Gea is his knowledge of English. Communication is probably the most underrated attribute in a Goalkeeper, while everyone loves to see the fancy dive to stop a shot or lightning fast reflexes, proper communication with defenders can help solve majority of the defensive problems for a Gk. One of the main reasons for Edwin’s success was his communication with the back four and how he set about organizing his defense.

De Gea will need time to learn English and the defenders themselves will need time to get used to his style of play. In the same interview mentioned above, Sir Alex also spoke about the above:

“The only problem with De Gea at the moment is that he doesn’t speak any English, We have got him working on certain calls and shouts with the defenders.”

While De Gea is clearly the more talented of the two, Lindegaard has shown he’s no slouch in goal either, and given the above mentioned factors going against De Gea, we might be seeing Lindegaard in goal come the start of the season, but given that De Gea has clearly more first team experience than Lindegaard that too in a tougher league, De Gea is also equally likely to start the season in goal.

Tomorrow’s pre-season game against Barcelona will see De Gea line up against what should be familiar opposition for him, and we should finally be able to see him tested properly against quality opponents. We might even see Anders get a chance too, so an oppurtunity for both to impress Sir Alex and fans.

De Gea has age on his side, and will surely be our no. 1 GK in the future, but who Sir Alex will start the season with in goal is still a raging debate with Lindegaard backed by quite a few United fans. Maybe the community Shield will give us a clue as to whom Sir Alex prefers to see in goal.

I personally would like to see Lindegaard start the season in goal and depending on how he has performed decides whether he should be replaced. Having a GK who can’t effectively communicate with his defenders can be a problem, especially when coming for crosses, or coming out to sweep through balls. Also given De Gea’s enormous price tag, even small mistakes are sure to be picked on by the brutal English press. So I think safer let Lindegaard start the season as the no. 1.

So who do you think should start the season as no. 1? De Gea or Lindegaard? Let us know your opinion on the matter and leave your comments below.


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