Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has claimed that he cannot ignore David de Gea’s awful kicking from the Europa League first leg win over Real Betis, fuelling speculation that the Red Devils will look for a new shot-stopper this summer.
The Old Trafford side won the game comfortably in the end, taking a 4-1 lead into the return leg this Thursday, but despite this there was plenty of concern over the Spanish no.1 from the Manchester United faithful.
The shot-stopper completed just 17 of his 25 passes (68%) and 1 of his 6 long balls (17%), playing his side into trouble on several occasions.
And, though Ten Hag defended his shot-stopper, he admitted that this was not something he could ignore.
“From today I can’t ignore it, but I think we have seen many games he did really well,” Ten Hag said. “I don’t know what the reason today was.
“There was a lot of wind, a different ball, probably he had some problems with that, but I know we can deal with it and he will do better Sunday.
“We work on [his kicking] but David is working on that. But I think we have seen in this season that he is improving and he will keep improving, I’m sure.”
Such comments will only fuel speculation that De Gea will not be Manchester United’s no.1 come next season, with strong links to Brentford goalkeeper David Raya and FC Porto’s Diogo Costa.
Replacing the Spaniard is seen by many as the next natural step for Ten Hag’s reign, with a goalkeeper capable with his feet in turn allowing his side to control games better and transition from a counter-attacking side to a ball-dominant one.