Van Gaal open to picking de Gea when goalie's ready

Kyle Walker putting pressure on United goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who impressed on his debut. The Tottenham defender's own goal gave United a 1-0 win.
Kyle Walker putting pressure on United goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who impressed on his debut. The Tottenham defender's own goal gave United a 1-0 win.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

MANCHESTER • Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes goalkeeper David de Gea may yet play for the club, despite being dropped for their opening-day Premier League victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

The Spanish international was not included in United's squad for Saturday's 1-0 win at Old Trafford.

He watched from the directors' box after van Gaal decided he was not sufficiently focused amid ongoing speculation about a transfer to Real Madrid.

The Dutchman instead put his faith in Sergio Romero, who joined United on a free transfer in the close season after his release from Sampdoria. He made a number of vital saves on his debut as United kept a clean sheet.

However, van Gaal dismissed suggestions that de Gea had played his last game for the club. He revealed that the 24-year-old had agreed that he was not in the right frame of mind to feature against Spurs.

"Can (de Gea) play for United again? Of course," said the Dutchman. "The position of the goalkeeper is a position that you needed the highest concentration and the highest focus during 90 minutes.

"And when you are in circumstances where David is, it is difficult to cope with that.

"And we have seen that.

"We have observed in the preparation, in the matches against PSG and Barcelona.

"And that was not the David - and he felt the same - as last year."

Van Gaal hinted that he may not pick de Gea until the transfer window closes at the start of next month. He praised Argentinian international Romero for his impressive debut performance.

"Of course when the situation has been cleared after September 1, we will look again," he said.

"But I'm happy Sergio did well."

United handed debuts to five of their close-season signings.

But the overall performance against Tottenham was unconvincing and they required an own goal from Kyle Walker to secure victory.

In addition to Romero, forward Memphis Depay, midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin and right-back Matteo Darmian all started.

German midfield star Bastian Schweinsteiger came off the bench.

And it was the adventurous display of Italian full-back Darmian that drew the most praise from van Gaal. "When I have to pick up one player, I think Matteo was the best player," he said. "Because he kept possession very well, with not too many stray passes.

"But the most important thing is that we have won because there was a lot of pressure on the match, because our start last year was very bad." AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2015, with the headline 'Van Gaal open to picking de Gea when goalie's ready'. Print Edition | Subscribe