David De Gea is working on his kicking as he seeks to prove to Erik ten Hag that he can remain Manchester United’s No 1 next season.
Throughout his managerial career, Ten Hag has preferred goalkeepers who can play the ball out from the back.
While De Gea has been improving in that department, there were a number of examples in United’s Europa League round of 16, first leg win over Real Betis that prove he still has some way to go. The 32 years old gave Betis two good chances thanks to his wayward passing in the first half and Ten Hag admitted that his goalkeeper had an off day with his kicking.
“From today i cant ignore it (the poor kicking) but I think we have seen in many games that he did really well”, the united manager 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 on Sunday.”
De Gea has came to Manchester United's rescue in many occasion this season The Spaniard made some outstanding saves in the wins over West Ham United, Bournemouth and Leeds United, and in a 2-2 away draw at Camp Nou in the previous Europa League. De Gea is also recently broke Peter Schmeichel’s United clean-sheet record, keeping his 181st in 523 games in the Carabao Cup final win over Newcastle United last month.
Ten Hag said his goalkeeper is trying to improve hos kicking game so that he is just as effective with his feet as he is with his hands.
“David is working on that,” Ten Hag said when asked about De Gea’s kicking. “But I think we have seen in this season that he is improving and he will keep improving, I’m sure.”
United can trigger a year’s extension to his £375,000-per-week deal but they would prefer De Gea to sign a longer contract at a reduced wage when his contract expires in the summer.
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