DAVID DE GEA is on course for Manchester United’s Player of the Year award yet again.
But that normally does not bode well for the club’s Premier League standing come May.
Winning the Sir Matt Busby gong in 2014, 2015 and 2016 followed league positions of 7th, 4th and 5th.
They bucked the trend in 2018 by finishing 2nd as De Gea triumphed for a fourth time – although 19 points behind winners Manchester City can hardly be celebrated.
You would not put it past United following suit with a lowly finish this year either.
Once more his performance sees the Red Devils avoid yet another mini crisis with several world class saves that denied Brentford heading into the break three or four goals ahead.
And that is no exaggeration. United – just like they have been for the majority of Ralf Rangnick’s bizarre-looking reign – were flat and feeble in the first half.
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Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford were the saviours in a slightly-improved second half, but in truth, they had De Gea, 31, to thank.
Like he has done without fail for the past few years, he stood up to be counted. Saving skins and sparing blushes is just what he does now. Expertly.
This is not a one-off. Take De Gea out of the United side this campaign and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would not have lasted as long as he did. The top four may be out of sight by now.
Instead, they are within touching distance of Champions League football next season, not that anyone barring De Gea or Cristiano Ronaldo are of that quality anyway.
And even Ronaldo at times looked exasperated, frustrated with this shadow of a United team. His strop after being subbed with 20 minutes left was there for all to see.
He called on his teammates to stand up. De Gea is the only one worthy of pointing a finger back at the Portuguese superstar.
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Not even Ronaldo was at OId Trafford the last time United won the title. De Gea was just a young pup back in 2013 – the last hurrah of Sir Alex Ferguson’s glory-glory tenure.
It has not all be pretty since then – the nature of De Gea’s form nosedive meant even the most loyal of fans were questioning whether their beloved No.1 was still up to it.
But if United are to crawl their way back to even competing for that trophy again, forget Ronaldo, it will be De Gea most likely still be standing in between the sticks too.
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