MANCHESTER (AFP) - Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has been dropped for Saturday's Premier League opener against Tottenham because he is not focused enough, according to his manager Louis van Gaal.
De Gea's future at Old Trafford looks increasingly uncertain amid interest from Real Madrid, and the Spain international, who has a year to run on his contract, "cannot manage the situation", according to Van Gaal.
The manager refused to say who would play in place of the Spaniard, but there is a possibility that Sam Johnstone may be called up for his club debut. The 22-year-old played more minutes on United's pre-season tour than any of the other four goalkeepers on the club's books.
Victor Valdes is out of favour after van Gaal alleged that he refused to play in an Under-21 match, while Anders Lindegaard looks likely to leave on a free transfer. New signing Sergio Romero, brought in this summer after being released by Sampdoria, is an experienced alternative, having played in last year's World Cup final and at the recent Copa America for Argentina.
Said van Gaal: "We have problems with de Gea. I don't know what the solution is. That's in progress. But I cannot lead this process. I can only watch and observe. I am not participating in the process. It is not easy for him to manage his situation now.
"He shall not play, so I don't have any concerns. I think a human being is more than only a player, and he cannot manage that situation."
The dropping of de Gea has come after he disappointed van Gaal with an error during United's final pre-season match, against Paris Saint-Germain in Chicago on July 29. De Gea was involved in a mix-up with Phil Jones and Luke Shaw, which allowed Blaise Matuidi to score PSG's second goal in a 2-0 win.
It was only the Spain international's second appearance for United in pre-season, having recovered from a hamstring injury suffered against Arsenal in May.