Top Man Utd star reveals he was ‘very, very close’ to making shock Wigan switch as an 18-year-old

David de Gea, Bruno Fernandes Man Utd

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has revealed that he was ‘very, very close’ to joining Wigan Athletic in a shock move back in 2009.

The Spaniard has now made 494 appearances for the Red Devils, winning the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League during his 11-year stay at Old Trafford.

However, things could have worked out very differently for the 31-year-old earlier in his career.

Championship side Wigan tried to land the Spain international when they were still in the Premier League 13 years ago.

The Latics were managed by Belgium boss Roberto Martinez at the time. And De Gea’s fellow countryman tried to convince him to move to Wigan 18 months before he eventually joined United.

Martinez led Wigan to a 16th-placed finish that season, avoiding relegation. And, at that time, De Gea would have challenged the likes of Chris Kirkland and veteran Mike Pollitt for a starting spot at the DW Stadium.

However, De Gea opted against the switch – having already made his Atletico debut.

“I was in Atletico and it was the same season I made my debut,’ De Gea, who now has 45 caps for Spain, told BT Sport’s What I Wore.

“I was like the third keeper and not even count for the team much, just training. Nothing else.

“So Wigan got in contact with me just to sign for them and I was very, very close to signing for Wigan.”

De Gea bounces back after criticism

After an impressive campaign last time out, De Gea has already come in for criticism this season.

He took personal responsibility for United’s woeful 4-0 defeat to Brentford in August. However, things have picked up for United since then.

Dean Henderson’s loan switch to Nottingham Forest did prompt the Red Devils to bring in experienced goalkeeper Martin Dubravka to challenge De Gea for the No.1 spot, but the Spaniard remains the club’s top stopper.

De Gea keeps clean sheet in Europa League win

He was in action again as Erik ten Hag’s men beat Sheriff in the Europa League on Thursday night.

It was a much-needed victory for United as they bounced back from their opening loss to Real Sociedad.

And De Gea’s defensive colleague Lisandro Martinez was delighted with the result, telling MUTV: “We got the three points, so it was very important for us.

“We work very hard every day in training. So today Sancho scored a fantastic goal, but how we played was fantastic. Sancho’s finish was great and in the end, we all celebrate.

“We know how big Cristiano Ronaldo is. He is very important for us and that he scored tonight, for his confidence and for the team.

“I’m really happy and a little bit surprised with that [the love from fans], but at the same time I feel very proud.

“To come here to the best club in the world and the people say ‘Argentina, Argentina’, for me it’s amazing. Thanks to the fans for their support.”

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