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Back of the Net
Back of the Net's John Foster explains the United stopper's visions
Manchester United keeper David de Gea insists that if he stares directly into the Old Trafford floodlights, a celestial host of cherubim and seraphim emerge and sing heavenly melodies unto him, sources close to the 21-year-old were reporting yesterday.
Ex-Atlético Madrid ace De Gea has endured a mixed start to his career in England after a series of high-profile gaffes led pundits to question Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to put his faith in a man who looks like a bashful werewolf.
But the watchful presence of the heavenly host has reassured the Spanish stopper that his luck is about to change.
“It happened first against West Brom”, De Gea said. “I was just looking at the floodlights for ages and ages, and then time seemed to stop, and this figure that looked like a winged Steve Coppell flew out of the brightness and hovered in front of me, smiling.
“When he vanished, I felt an incredible sense of calm, and Shane Long had made it 1-0.”
The second time the wispy-faced custodian saw angels was against Manchester City in October.
“I stared at the floodlights for 20, maybe 25 minutes,” he recalled, “And eventually the clouds parted, beautiful music filled the air, and the spirit of Remi Moses appeared and told me to narrow the angle.
“I felt so happy, until he called me a pillock because I’d just let Edin Dzeko make it 6-1.”
The young No.1 admitted that he is keen to see more angels, but he doesn’t know yet when they will descend upon him, their voices raised in celestial harmony, mirroring the divine order of creation.
“We’re at home to Liverpool next,” said De Gea. “I'll just have to stare into the floodlights for long periods of the game, and we’ll see what happens.”
Goalkeeping eccentricities are nothing new at Old Trafford. Les Sealey used to slaughter a goat in the centre circle before kick-off, which he would then consume at half-time in lieu of oranges.
Later, Peter Schmeichel insisted on playing alongside a life-size toby jug, which would go on to build a career in management, most recently with Sunderland.
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