The Spanish goalkeeper received backing from his counterpart ahead of Sunday’s crucial clash between the two top-four hopefuls
De Gea’s position as number one goalkeeper at Premier League giants United has once again been thrust into the spotlight following his inconsistent performances in 2019-20.
Calls for highly-rated English keeper Dean Henderson – on loan at Sheffield United – to be recalled have grown louder following De Gea’s nightmare display against Chelsea in last week’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
De Gea failed to keep out Olivier Giroud’s close-range effort before he was beaten with embarrassing ease following Mason Mount’s speculative long-range effort in Chelsea’s 3-1 triumph, though the long-serving keeper retained his place in Wednesday’s 1-1 Premier League draw against West Ham.
As Man Utd prepare for Sunday’s blockbuster final-day trip to fifth-placed Leicester, which will determine who qualifies for next season’s Champions League, Schmeichel backed De Gea.
“It can be very difficult and you’ve got to remember, and this is with absolutely no disrespect to journalists or pundits, but you’ve actually never stood in that goal,” Schmeichel told Sky Sports.
“You would classify things as mistakes or errors, and there are things that are glaring sometimes, but often this narrative can be created around a goalkeeper because it’s the pundits’ and journalists’ job to educate and that’s their job.
“They’re telling their educated opinions about goalkeeping, things like hand positions, feet positions, technical things which sometimes is quite damaging to a goalkeeper.
“You hear comments like, ‘going with the wrong hand’, or other throw away things that they’ll say which will make the consumer or viewer think, ‘oh yeah, that’s right, I see he’s done it again’.
“That’s sometimes quite a dangerous narrative because all of a sudden it starts building momentum and for someone like David, I really feel for him because he has been unbelievable for so many years and every goalkeeper goes through periods [of poor form].
“There is a lot of pressure also in the sense that you now have an England goalkeeper coming through and, like it or not, in this country when you have an English goalkeeper, that means so much and they really do tend to build them up.
“I genuinely hope for someone like Dean Henderson, who’s had an amazing season, that he can be allowed to develop. I hope for him, he gets another season, maybe two at Sheffield United and play the way he’s done and then he’ll be ready.
“But for now, David de Gea is still a world-class goalkeeper. It’s a lonely position and those are the margins you play in as a goalkeeper – you simply cannot make mistakes because you will be punished.
“So the difference between goalkeepers and outfielders is the little, tiny, minute details which are the difference and when they go against you, they are really glaring and they will be spotted.
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“Outfielders don’t have to have the same mentality and they say we’re crazy, which we are because we’re the only ones who dare to take the responsibility because if outfielders took that kind of responsibility, we’d have some unbelievable players everywhere.”
De Gea, who joined Man Utd from Atletico Madrid in 2011, surpassed Peter Schmeichel – Kasper’s father – to become the overseas player with the most appearances for the Red Devils earlier this month.
United are third in the Premier League after 37 rounds, level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea and a point clear of Leicester.