Amid a dip in form and having faced scrutiny again this week, Man Utd goalkeeper David De Gea has received support from Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel.
The two sides are currently preparing for their crunch showdown on Sunday as a place in the top-four and Champions League qualification will be on the line at the King Power Stadium.
As things stand, both Man Utd and Chelsea will be at Europe’s top table next season, but Leicester know that a win over the Red Devils will see them leapfrog their rivals and push them down back into a Europa League spot.
In turn, it promises to be a thrilling last day of the season, and despite what’s at stake, Schmeichel has shown his class by defending opposite number De Gea and offering his support to the Spaniard who has come under fire particularly this season after what have been perceived as errors as he has slipped from his previously high standards.
However, Schmeichel has offered a detailed and educated retort to those scrutinising his fellow goalkeeper, and it’s great to hear him respectfully go into such detail as he backs his rival.
“It can be very difficult and you’ve got to remember, and this is with absolutely no disrespect to journalists or pundits, but you’ve actually never stood in that goal,” he said, as per Sky Sports. “You hear comments like, ‘going with the wrong hand’, or other throw away things that they’ll say which will make the consumer or viewer think, ‘oh yeah, that’s right, I see he’s done it again’.
“That’s sometimes quite a dangerous narrative because all of a sudden it starts building momentum and for someone like David, I really feel for him because he has been unbelievable for so many years and every goalkeeper goes through periods [of poor form].
“There is a lot of pressure also in the sense that you now have an England goalkeeper coming through and, like it or not, in this country when you have an English goalkeeper, that means so much and they really do tend to build them up.
“But for now, David de Gea is still a world-class goalkeeper. It’s a lonely position and those are the margins you play in as a goalkeeper – you simply cannot make mistakes because you will be punished”
Time will tell if either man has a direct influence on the result this weekend, but this is just one of many key battles that will determine the outcome and decides who will be playing Champions League football next season.