Manchester United’s experienced goalkeeper David De Gea believes that while advising young players aids their development, setting a good example is more important.
Many rookie Reds have been involved in the first-team squad this season, including Anthony Elanga, Alejandro Garnacho and Hannibal. As they make the step up, these youngsters look to the senior members of the group for guidance.
De Gea, who now has 11 years under his belt at Old Trafford, is among the elder statesmen who endeavour to help fresh faces adapt to first-team life.
“As an experienced player in the squad, [I try] to give advice to the younger players,” said the Spaniard, during his episode of the TeamViewer Diaries video series.
“I give 100 per cent every day in training [and] in games, to try to be an example for everyone.”
De Gea was in great form throughout 2021/22 and he won the Premier League’s Player of the Month award in January, making him the first goalkeeper since 2016 to land that particular accolade. He was voted Players’ Player of the Year at United and climbed to 11th place on United’s all-time appearances list.
While De Gea strives to guide the club’s younger players verbally as they come through, he feels that setting an example has more value.
“[I] think it is not just about talking and giving advice to the boys,” he said.
“It’s the way you work, the way you treat people in the club, the way you train, the way you play. I think this is even more important than words.”
The goalkeeper believes that 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo, who returned to the club last summer having won four Ballons d’Or and four Champions League titles at Real Madrid, provides the perfect example for United’s Academy hopefuls to follow.
“He’s great,” De Gea said. “The way he works speaks for himself. The way he treats himself, his body. He is focused in every training session and every game.
“This is why he is one of the best in history. He’s mentally very strong and that’s an example for everyone [to follow].”
Credit: Manchester United