Football - Ferguson hails brave De Gea

Sir Alex Ferguson believes David de Gea's performance at West Ham on Wednesday showed how much progress the Manchester United keeper has made since his arrival from Atletico Madrid, as his side prepare to host Aston Villa on Monday.

PA Sport

De Gea has endured heaps of criticism during his short time in England. Mostly it centres around the 22-year-old's lack of a physical presence, and inability to cope with congested penalty areas.

Yet he can have had no more stern examination than the one provided by Andy Carroll at Upton Park, with Ferguson still of the belief he should have been sent off for a clattering first-half challenge on De Gea.

More importantly though, De Gea came through the test with flying colours, dispelling doubts over his ability to cope.

"His first game last season was away from home against West Brom," Ferguson told MUTV.

"The referee felt he was a young goalkeeper, who was not used to English football. There was a laxity in terms of protection for him.

"That has passed now but Wednesday was beyond the pale. Let's be honest, there was an assault on him.

"But he stood up to it. He didn't let it affect him. He was brave and got on with his job."

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