David de Gea: Sir Alex Ferguson’s monster
After Edwin Van Der Sar’s ubiquitous brilliance, Sir Alex Ferguson produced a blueprint of what was required for Manchester United’s next great goalkeeper.
Edwin’s kicking game was not the best and the ever reforming and revolving European game demanded that an elite team start build ups from the back. In order to both widen and condense the pitch a goalkeeper had to be proficient with his feet and reading of the game, enter David De Gea.
Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s novel held fast onto his vision of imparting breath, and thus, life into non living material. It was his life’s work, with his studies all geared towards that eventuality.
“This boy is as cold as a wolf. He has composure, nerve and self-confidence. The pressure that others might feel doesn’t affect him.”
His youth coach certainly believed the above statement and so did Sir Alex Ferguson who rolled the dice in such an almighty way Steven Soderbergh might as well have recruited him for Oceans Thirteen. Replacing a legend like Edwin with a scrawny, wolf-like introvert was the biggest gamble Sir Alex took in his career, alongside purchasing Bebe. One of those decisions went south, fast.
Any physical team salivated at having to constantly barge into the Spaniard at corners and intimidate him, more so after his formative howlers. Berated, plastered on Monday morning publications, ridiculed, the pitch forks were out. The media smelt blood and they hounded.
Even Sir Alex had a seed of doubt sown in his mind by all the razzmatazz and uproar, opting to rotate him with Lindegaard. The media expected him to be laughed out of town and back to the sleepy hollow of Spain, but what they hadn’t counted on was the young boy’s steely resolve, unflinching belief in his ability and borderline sociopath status. Criticism didn’t faze him.
Eric Steele and the backroom staff started working on him – Alex Ferguson’s little experiment. Its outcome would either be a waterloo of sorts, or an epochal moment in the next great team he intended to leave behind.
Protein shakes and supplements incorporated, junk food discarded, gym-work brought to the forefront, sleep patterns altered, kicking skills bolstered. He still made the odd clanger, but the media detail with hemlock laced pens cocked soon grew bored of waiting for apocalyptic mistakes and soon reverted to singing his praises complete with a tambourine and trumpet.
However, the tide really changed on the 13th of February 2013. at the Bernabeu, where he put in the most commanding, sublime and authoritative display a visiting goalkeeper had ever mustered. On the night he was unplayable – a term usually reserved for outfield stars. On the night he shape-shifted into a god. He put on the greatest kicking game since Jonny Wilkinson won England the 2003 Rugby world cup. It was the night he earned a seat in the pantheon of great champions league performances.
Victor Frankenstein found a way to give life to the various non-living parts, creating a creature 8 feet tall and nothing like the beauty he’d imagined. Frankenstein fled from his creation soon after he realized that he had created a fiend.
In the summer of 2013 Sir Alex Ferguson retired and Real Madrid had already started stealing glances at the buffed, hulking and imposing, but still law defingly agile shot stopper. His Spanish roots meant that he was always going to be a prime candidate to replace the declining Iker Casillas, it was too convenient not to be the case.
Ill tenures or not, De Gea’s genius has been the only beckon of hope, like a lighthouse to the fast declining club. It’s 2015 and Madrid have come knocking. When the Galacticos come knocking, you open the door, whip out your best China, slaughter your choice lamb, offer them the seat at the head of the table and let them say Grace.
“I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir, with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the creator of the world.
The fiend that Victor Frankenstein created killed his best friends and his wife-to-be and he soon realized the malevolence that resided in the creature he had molded. Likewise, Sir Alex Ferguson has created a monster.
Monsters attract attention and sooner or later the police pull you up and ask to search your trunk. Real Madrid are said police, and now they have come to collect.
David De Gea has become a Frankenstein, or rather his monster, he is so powerful and made United fans so happy. However, when he leaves it will be akin to killing those very same fans who adore him.