David de Gea 'can become Manchester United great'

Manchester United's David De Gea
De Gea made 84 appearances for Atletico Madrid before his move

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Alex Stepney has backed David de Gea to become an Old Trafford legend.

The Spaniard has been criticised for his performances in the Community Shield and Sunday's Premier League opener against West Brom.

But Stepney said: "At 20 years of age he can only learn and get better.

"And when I say get better, he's blooming brilliant now. He can reach the standards of Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar."

Stepney, who played 539 games for the Red Devils between 1966 and 1978, believes Sir Alex Ferguson will help De Gea get over any problems.

"The lad will work hard," he told BBC Radio Manchester's Red Wednesday programme.

"He's got the right guy behind him, looking after him.

"It's a learning process."

De Gea, signed from Atletico Madrid in June for £18.9m, was beaten to a set piece by City defender Joleon Lescott at Wembley in the Charity Shield. Edin Dzeko's long-range shot then went under his body before half-time.

At The Hawthorns on Sunday Shane Long's angled drive crept in under his arm.

Stepney said: "The first goal (at Wembley) was exactly the same as United's goal down the other end.

"It's a horrible, horrible ball to come into the six-yard box - a great free-kick.

"Obviously, the second goal was a mistake and as a keeper you openly admit you have made a mistake.

"Against West Brom, I thought Long did very well - quick feet, a quick shot and he caught him napping.

"But this is the Premier League. The lad has never played in a league like he's playing in now and at 20 years of age he can only learn and get better."

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