Rooney backs Man Utd teammate De Gea as world’s best goalkeeper

Wayne Rooney believes Manchester United teammate David De Gea should be considered the best goalkeeper in the world on the strength of his recent performances, ESPN has reported.

De Gea won wide acclaim for a series of saves as United beat Liverpool 3-0, stopping one Raheem Sterling effort seconds before Rooney put United in front at the other end. The Spain international saved again from Sterling later in the match and also produced a save from a Mario Balotelli effort, with Rooney commending his colleague.

“In my eyes, he’s the best goalkeeper in the world. The performances he has shown for us have been fantastic,” Rooney said. “He’s not as tall as some other goalkeepers but his spring and his reach is really long.

“Sometimes in training you hit a shot and turn away thinking it’s gone in and he just manages to get there. I am delighted for him.”

Rooney recalled how De Gea needed time to adapt to keeping goal for United, having moved to the club from Atletico Madrid at the age of 20. “To play in goal at United [at that age] is difficult, especially trying to replace Edwin van der Sar, who was a fantastic ‘keeper,” the United captain noted.

“We knew it might take time with David and it did. The first six months, [and] probably [the first] year, it was hard but he worked hard on his game and it shows,” Rooney continued. “Edwin van der Sar had his best years of his career when he was with us in his late 30s so David has got a great future ahead of him. If he keeps working hard the way he is then he will have many, many years at the top.

“He has shown great form and some of his saves are incredible. I hope he does win some of the top personal awards but he has had a really good season. David is important for us and we are delighted to have him.”

De Gea has made more than 100 appearances for United and made his senior international debut for Spain prior to the 2014 World Cup, appearing in a pre-tournament friendly against El Salvador. He didn’t feature for Spain in Brazil and made his first competitive start in a 4-0 win at Luxembourg earlier this season.

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