Ander Herrera has hailed the “cat-like” qualities of Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, with the Spaniard’s “special” qualities inspiring confidence in those around him.
The Red Devils’ No. 1 has established a reputation as one of the finest players in world football – particularly among those he shares a position with.
He has been a model of consistency for United throughout a testing period of transition since Sir Alex Ferguson headed into retirement, with three Player of the Year awards secured at Old Trafford.
Herrera admits his fellow countryman is an elite performer, with performances which frustrate him on the training field replicated in the heat of competitive action by a super-confident talent.
The United midfielder told the Daily Mail: “David has something special. He was born with a gift.
“There are times in training when I shoot and in my head I'm saying ‘Gol!’ like the Spanish commentators, then this cat-like hand emerges from nowhere and claws it away. I shake my head, laugh and enjoy him.
“He's made saves in games where I've stopped in my tracks and just said to myself: ‘How good is this guy?’ He will make a save and everyone's singing his name, the TV's showing six replays, Twitter's going mad, and he gets up as if it is the easiest thing in the world.
“Before games, I'm a bit crazy. I get tense, I shake, dance. David pats me on the back, shrugs and says: ‘No, Ander, stand still, don't worry, it can't go wrong. If they shoot, they cannot score because I'm in goal’. It's like nothing has happened.
“In the FA Cup semi-final against Everton in 2016, he saved a penalty from Romelu Lukaku and after the game he's just like: ‘OK, that happened. What do you want to do tomorrow?’ It's like a student handing in an assignment and moving on. This is greatness.”
De Gea has been in inspired form again for United this season, with 17 Premier League clean sheets leaving him on course to claim a first Golden Glove of his career.