Manchester United star David De Gea didn’t get on with Louis van Gaal during the Dutchman’s spell at Old Trafford, according to former goalkeeping coach Eric Steele. The pair spent two years at the club together. But it appears their relationship was far from good.
Back in the summer of 2015, De Gea wanted out of Manchester United.
He’d seen the club scrape a spot in the upcoming Champions League campaign that year but the 29-year-old felt that, under Van Gaal, the club were miles off challenging for the Premier League title.
De Gea wanted to join Real Madrid, who were hellbent on snapping up the former Atletico Madrid star. In the end, though, that didn’t happen.
And Steele has revealed to Goal that the shot-stopper wanted to leave because of differences with Van Gaal at Old Trafford.
“When he was under Van Gaal we knew the reason why he wanted out – they did not get on, and it didn’t work,” he told The I newspaper.
“He would have gone to Real Madrid if it wasn’t for what happened on transfer deadline day.
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“He was not displeased with the fans or the club, but it was clearly something that had gone on behind the scenes.
“Now things are different. He has got a smile on his face, the club are improving and I cannot see why he would want to leave.”
De Gea has been a regular for United ever since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho in December 2018.
But his path to the first team could be complicated by Dean Henderson.
Henderson has impressed at Sheffield United this season, keeping 10 clean sheets to boost their chances of playing in Europe next season.
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And Steele thinks Henderson will want the No 1 jersey when his loan spell at Bramall Lane expires at the end of the campaign.
“Knowing Dean Henderson as I do, he will expect to walk into that Old Trafford dressing room and make the No.1 jersey his own, now.
“I signed him at 14 and stayed close to him – he has a great attitude.
“David will have known there was always going to be a young pretender to come and challenge him and that is what Dean will do.
“It will not faze David. You do not get to where David de Gea is today without overcoming obstacles.”
When asked what value Henderson could add to Solskjaer’s squad, Steele added: “When United are back in the Champions League, you can have a 65-game season. Nobody can play every game.
“Should contracts permit, United need to say to him [Henderson] ‘you are not going out on loan, you are here to compete with David’.
“He will value the experience at Sheffield United – he is better prepared now to take that challenge on.
“United are in such a strong position.
“David will relish the challenge and come back stronger.”
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