David de Gea remains a “fantastic” goalkeeper and mistakes are all part of life between the sticks, with even Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel making the odd error, Raimond van der Gouw has said.
The former Red Devils custodian remains a big fan of the club’s current No.1 despite questions having been asked of the Spanish shot-stopper’s game over recent years.
De Gea was once the most reliable presence at Old Trafford, with his remarkable consistency leading to a record-setting haul of four Player of the Year awards being collected.
Those standards have dipped of late, with a man who overcame a tricky start to his time in English to become one of the world’s best seeing faults creep back in.
Van der Gouw considers that to be part and parcel of a goalkeeper’s life, with the former Red Devils star telling MUTV: “Well, United have very good goalkeepers.
“De Gea is fantastic – he has shown that he is one of the best goalkeepers in England. Not only for one year, but for the last couple of years.
“Last season he made a couple of mistakes, but that’s normal. He’s a human being, and if I look back at when I was at Manchester United, when I first saw Peter Schmeichel I thought he would never make a mistake.
“But then during the Treble season he had a bad spell and you wonder how that is possible.
“De Gea is fantastic, but he can make mistakes. So do all top players!
“Fantastic players are always looking over their shoulders and if they make a mistake people say they’re not as good anymore.
“This is ridiculous because they are human beings. For a goalkeeper, you have to be stable and if you make a mistake, make sure next time you are in the right place so you can stop the ball.”
De Gea faces competition from Sergio Romero at present, while Dean Henderson could come back into the picture at some point following two productive loan spells at Sheffield United.
Rivalry always exists at top clubs, though, with Van der Gouw facing that situation himself across a six-year stint at Old Trafford between 1996 and 2002.
He added: “You have to deal with the competition. In my situation that was with Mark Bosnich.
“There was a new goalkeeper, but I thought this could be my chance. Peter was the no.1, but Mark was going to have to show it.
“I gave myself a chance and I was lucky because Mark Bosnich wasn’t really fit, he had a lot of injuries and I took my chance. When I look back, I played a lot of matches and I think that season [1999/00] I was probably No.1.”