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Ferguson calls for de Gea protection
Alex Ferguson wants to see his new Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea offered more protection from referees as he adjusts to life in the Premier League.
The 20-year-old Spaniard has endured a mixed start to his career in English football, making errors in games against Manchester City and West Brom, as well as demonstrating why he is one of the world's best young goalkeepers.
This weekend, de Gea was expecting to face another physical test in United?s visit to Bolton and his manager conceded that, while he has no concerns about the keeper's long-term prospects, he believes he deserves better protection.
Ferguson felt de Gea did not get enough support from from referee Mike Jones in the 2-1 victory at West Brom last month.
"He's bound to get better protection than he did at West Brom," said Ferguson. "There is nothing wrong with that, it's part of the challenge.
"Each game that comes along will be a new experience for him. He got a different type of experience at West Brom and actually did really well in the sense that he had to deal with it.
"But he didn't get any protection from the referee at the time which was disappointing but we expect it to be better protection than that."
Meanwhile, Ferguson was relieved this week to see his players return from international duty unscathed.
Javier Hernandez is also progressing well, adding further to United?s impressive firepower, after recovering from a worrying concussion he sustained in pre-season.
"He played two 45 minutes for Mexico and scored in one of the games," said Ferguson of Hernandez.
"Getting two 45 minutes is terrific. He came on against Arsenal and played an hour there so he's ready and trained really well. The only issue was how much time you give him after his head knock in the States. Other than that, he's fine."
However, despite seeing his players return from international duty without any injuries, Ferguson has added his voice to the growing disquiet among Premier League managers at the unwieldy nature of the international fixture list.
"It's not just an issue with the number of internationals, there is also the calendar which has been in conflict with the interests of clubs, with the African Cup of Nations, the Copa America," said Ferguson.
"That's always been a particular problem, a lot of clubs have African players and lose three or four of them for five weeks in January.
"We, fortunately, haven't had that problem apart from (Cameroon international Eric) Djemba-Djemba in the African Cup of Nations once.
"Then the Copa America is played in the summer and players coming back are obviously missing a bit in terms of doing pre-season work and you have to put them right into the football and hopefully, as the season progresses, they pick up. It's the same when players come back from the World Cup.
"But in terms of the actual number of games, we have always said there are too many international games, we have all complained about that."
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