De Gea ready for physical Bolton test

09 September 2011 01:30

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has shrugged off his shaky start to the season as he prepares for a physical test at Bolton on Saturday.

The 20-year-old former Atletico Madrid striker has come in for criticism during the opening games of his United career after conceding soft goals against Manchester City, West Brom and Arsenal.

But the £18 million signing, bought as the successor to the retired Edwin van der Sar, insists he is not letting the criticism bother him.

"It seems normal to me. When you do things wrong, even though it's (just) a couple of mistakes, the press has every right to criticise you, especially when you're a goalkeeper, who is always under the spotlight," de Gea said.

"What happened is something normal and no big deal. Now it's in my hands to change those early negative criticisms into praise.

"I'm surrounded by very good people and that means that we can do big things this year. We have to have faith and belief that we can do it.

"Only that way will I continue to grow as a goalkeeper and having the necessary confidence to become a key player."

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been typically dismissive of the questions directed at de Gea, insisting the youngster has already shown he has what it takes to be a success in the Premier League.

Against Bolton, de Gea is likely to be given another rough ride as United attempt to maintain their perfect start to the season.

Bolton are certainly more attractive to watch since Owen Coyle arrived in January last year but they retain some of the directness that defined them under Sam Allardyce and Gary Megson.

Captain Kevin Davies remains the figure-head for Boltons attacks and De Gea will be severely tested, with Ferguson admitting he has been surprised by some of the errors made by his new signing.

"David made a couple of mistakes in his first games, which we didn't expect and nor did he," Ferguson said.

"It was unusual because his form at Atletico Madrid as an 18-year-old was sensational.

"There is no doubt we have a player of great potential. Our job at this club is to realise that potential and make sure he becomes a top goalkeeper.

"He'll become a great keeper once he gains experience and adapt to the physical nature of the league.

"It is a different game here compared to Spain - there are more crosses to deal with and there is more contact. Bit by bit, we will get there with him."

The game is likely to come too soon for Danny Welbeck and Antonio Valencia, who have been struggling with hamstring and ankle injuries.

Nemanja Vidic is still out with a calf strain, while Rafael is a long-term absentee with a shoulder injury.

Bolton manager Coyle meanwhile is adamant that Gary Cahill will not be distracted after a whirlwind fortnight.

Arsenal and Tottenham attempted to sign Cahill before the transfer deadline and then he impressed in two starts for England.

Now he is getting used to still being at Bolton, Coyle is sure that the centre-back will continue to perform.

"Gary is ambitious and wants to play at the highest level of the game, and I am totally understanding of this," Coyle said.

"There is no doubt that Gary, I think, in time would love to be part of an elite club, and I think he is more than capable of playing for any of them.

"That will happen in time, I have no doubt about it, but before then, Gary has to make sure he is focused and doing his job for Bolton.

"I expected Gary to go in the summer to an elite club, that was my belief, because of the quality I know he has."

Source: AFP

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