David de Gea to reach Man Utd landmark vs Newcastle but still a long way off ten stars


Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea is set to make his 500th appearance for the club this weekend as his side take on Newcastle. The Spaniard has been one of the club’s most important players since signing in 2011, though his time at Old Trafford could conclude as soon as this summer.

De Gea’s contract expires at the end of the season, though United are able to activate a one-year extension in the deal – though that would mean they continue to pay the 31-year-old his bumper weekly wage. Thus, questions are being raised as to whether Erik ten Hag will greenlight negotiations with the goalkeeper’s representatives or look for a long-term replacement.

The Spain international has consistently impressed at the Theatre of Dreams, and his appearances against Omonia Nicosia on Thursday night in the Europa League means that he has played 499 matches for United in all competitions. Thus, a new deal would see him challenge some of the Red Devils’ legends who spent many years at the club.

Only ten players have made more than 500 appearances for United ever, with some very familiar names featuring highly on the list. Ryan Giggs has made the most appearances for the club in history (963) and it would take an equally impressive academy product to come through the ranks and spend their career with United to knock him off of the top spot.

Bobby Charlton (758) and Paul Scholes (718) are the two other former players to have surpassed the 700 appearances mark, with Bill Foulkes (688) and Gary Neville (602) the only other players to feature more than 600 times. Thus, De Gea could target becoming the sixth-most capped United player in history if he is awarded a new deal, which would see him overtake Wayne Rooney (559) and former goalkeeper Alex Stepney (539).

Ten Hag has consistently reiterated that he is happy with the progress that De Gea is making under his management, with the former Atletico Madrid being forced to adapt to a new style of goalkeeping which puts an emphasis on his ability with his feet. If he continues to impress his manager, he could quickly reach the appearances figures of Tony Dunne (535), Denis Irwin (529) and Joe Spence (510).

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De Gea will feel that Spence’s record is well within reach this season given that United are still playing in all competitions and his side have only played eight league matches, though he could overtake other club legends if United take the advice of Rio Ferdinand. The former defender told BT: “I would give him a contract. I think his character speaks a lot because he’s had times where he got taken out of the team for Dean Henderson [and people have] questioned his quality.

“Even when he first came to the club, people were saying, ‘Is he the right one?’, because he was so young maybe he’s not the right guy, [but he] always comes through. It’s all down to the way Erik ten Hag wants to play football. If he wants to play out from the back, like he did with Ajax, it’s all about someone who is actually better with their feet and that’s probably the biggest strength in their game. David De Gea, that’s not his biggest strength.”


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