Gary Neville claims time almost up for long-serving Man Utd star due to Ten Hag being ‘absolutely adamant’ of one thing

David de Gea speaks with Bruno Fernandes as Man Utd face Leeds Utd in Premier League

Gary Neville has warned David De Gea to expect a “short-lived” spell as Manchester United number one under Erik ten Hag.

De Gea conceded six goals on Sunday as Manchester United suffered a comprehensive defeat to rivals City in the derby. Even before then, there have been plenty of questions about his status as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper.

The concerns have not necessarily related to his shot-stopping abilities. Indeed, over the years, he has proven himself as someone who is usually a good preventer of opposition chances.

But many are wondering whether he is good enough with the ball at his feet to be suitable for a side that favours playing out from the back. It is a key element of the philosophy of manager Ten Hag, who took charge over the summer.

Now, Neville has voiced his concerns that De Gea simply might not be up to the task in that regard.

He said on the Gary Neville Podcast: “We’re seeing less success with that type of [defensive] football. Other than Leicester, can you think of a team that have not dominated possession most of the time that have won this league in the last 15-20 years? Not really.

“You don’t see it. You have to be a very proactive team on the front foot, pressing, doing all the right things.

“And I think that’s where Erik ten Hag, to be fair to him, he has stepped back. We saw a graphic before the game that in the last four games they’ve had 42% possession – but they had 60% when they were losing.

“They’ve also played a lot more long balls, so I think he’s had to step back to go forward. I think he’s had to regroup. And that’s no problem.

“But we all know where Erik ten Hag wants to get this United team to. He wants 75% possession, he wants players that can handle the ball – not just in the middle of midfield, but defenders who can handle the ball.

Doubts over De Gea on the ball

“The goalkeeper needs to be brilliant on the ball and I suspect that with David de Gea, his career at Manchester United is probably going to be short-lived under Erik ten Hag.

“Because he’s going to be absolutely adamant that his philosophy of playing out from the back, playing through midfield, playing those little risky passes that we see City and Ederson do all the time – that we no longer see as risky because they do it so well – is something that I think he’s striving for and wants to get to.”

De Gea has been with Man Utd since 2011, when he arrived from Atletico Madrid. His contract at Old Trafford is due to expire at the end of the season. Although the club have the option to extend it into 2024.

However, reports have indicated that he is already wondering about his future and wants to hold discussions with Ten Hag.

Perhaps they are just not compatible to be at the same club, or they will manage to find a different solution after all. It is something that will only become clearer in time.

For now, De Gea should continue as Manchester United’s number one until the new year at least. He is four appearances away from hitting the landmark of 500 outings for the club.

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