David de Gea will have been unfazed by the criticism aimed in his direction during a recent “dip”, says Manchester United’s former goalkeeping coach Eric Steele, with a deaf ear being turned to the taunts of Roy Keane and co.
The Spain international on the books at Old Trafford has been a model of consistency throughout much of his time in England. De Gea had to overcome a slow start in order to nail down the No 1 berth, but is now a four-time Player of the Year for the Red Devils and closing in on 400 appearances for the club.
Having proven himself over the course of a nine-year spell, earning lucrative new contracts in the process, the 29-year-old is considered to have cemented a standing among the global elite.
He has made the occasional error, with United legend Keane recently claiming that the Spaniard is “the most overrated goalkeeper” he has seen in a long time, the outspoken Irishman saying he would have been “swinging punches” on the back of a costly mistake against Tottenham.
Steele, though, believes a player he worked with on the back of a big-money move from Atletico Madrid in 2011 will have ignored any critics and focused on playing his way back into top form.
"Roy Keane has his way and that is Roy Keane's way, as a player, as a coach and what he does as a pundit," Steele told the Football, the Albion and Me podcast. "Roy Keane was terrific for Sky TV. What I'd say is, I'd have handled that totally differently. David de Gea did not need Roy Keane to go on a rant for him to know he made an error.
"I'd look at it and I'd say the same if I was talking to Joe Hart, Tom Heaton, Mart Poom at Derby, Lee Grant at Derby, who is now at Man United.
"He's now coming up to 400 games for Manchester United. He's going to make that in the next two weeks. You don't play that many games for one of the biggest clubs in the world without being a very good goalkeeper.
"Yes, he's had a little dip but if you've been at a club for nine years - Peter Schmeichel arrived at 28, he had a very tough time in his first two, three months, as did David for five, six months.
"David was 20, he's now nearly 30 and coming up to 400 games for Manchester United. My answer to that would be, look what he's won, look what he's contributed. Yes, he knows he has made an error but what I do know is David's composure, his character, his calmness, he won't be bothered.
"I bet he hasn't even watched it. It would take someone to send it him on Twitter or whatever. It would go straight over his head.
"He came to Manchester United, he'd won the Europa League, the Under-21s with Spain, he'd won it again, he'd won the Super Cup and Under-17s with Spain.
"He's since won the Premier League, FA Cup, Community Shields, Europa League. You don't become a fantastic goalkeeper overnight and, yes, he's had a rough ride over the last eight, nine months but it's his ninth year.
"The pressures he's had to work under. Different managers, five different goalkeeper coaches. David will rise again and part of that demeanour is his character, which will come through."