When things have been rough for Manchester United this season, David de Gea hasn't shied away from saying what has to be said in a straightforward manner.
When Manchester United were in the midst of a storm this season, the Spaniard, who is expected to be named Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year for a sixth time after signing for the club in 2011, has frequently been the club's public face. To make matters worse, after the team's humiliating 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City in January, he was among the first to resort to social media to air his grievances.
On Saturday, though, following United's 1-0 loss to Everton, he did not resort to the power of social media to voice his displeasure. Instead, he used his post-match interview with BT Sport to express his displeasure with yet another dreadful outing for the club.
"To be completely honest, I'm at a loss for what to say." We were aware that they were having difficulties and that the situation was going to be severe before today.
"It's not the most conducive environment. We saw that the Everton players were exhausted and scared, but they kept fighting and showed more determination today." It's not appropriate in any way. That is unacceptable because they played on Wednesday and were exhausted, yet they had more desire than we did, and that is unacceptable.
I'm really sorry for the loss. It is a source of embarrassment for us. "This is a game that we should be winning."
'A disgrace,' 'not acceptable,' and 'not the ideal climate,' say the critics. De Gea was not afraid to speak the truth, even if it meant providing a glimpse into the terrible state of affairs in the Manchester United dressing room.
However, despite the fact that it gave a terrible picture of the current mentality in the squad, De Gea deserves to be commended for standing up, being brutally honest, and setting an example by example. The former Atletico Madrid player provided an interview that was meaningful and came from the heart at a time when the Manchester United squad has never been under such intense scrutiny for all the wrong reasons.
In spite of the fact that sportsmen' social media apologies are sometimes false, De Gea's post-match appraisal on Saturday, while staring down a camera belonging to one of the rights holders, could not have been more tight. Instead of sugarcoating the performance, he was not hesitant to give an honest review on another forgettable day at the office, as opposed to when others might have done so, even if it would have necessitated obtaining an acting degree.
It is for this reason that De Gea should be considered for the position of captain of Manchester United. For several months, Harry Maguire's status as captain has been in doubt, and it is still unclear whether or not he will wear the armband at the start of next season. Erik ten Hag, on the other hand, appears to be the one who will make the final decision.
Although it is difficult to predict if De Gea will be Manchester United's first choice goalkeeper next season, especially if Ten Hag is given the job, it is likely that he will be. As a result, Dean Henderson was a goal for Ajax ahead of the January transfer window, and Ten Hag is likely to choose the England international when picking his starting lineup for the 2022/23 season.
However, if De Gea retains his position and Ten Hag removes Maguire from the captaincy, the former will have demonstrated all of the required characteristics and qualities to establish himself as captain material. He has held firm and refused to downplay United's difficulties, when others have trotted out tired slogans such as 'we'll go again next week' or 'we'll learn from this and come back stronger', among others.
The goalkeeper's post-match interview on Saturday, despite the fact that it did little to boost the mood or put an end to yet another forgettable United performance, was refreshing and honest, providing hope that there is still some energy and drive remaining in the camp. It is a minor detail, yet it has a significant impact.
At Old Trafford, a cultural reset is sorely needed this summer, and if Ten Hag takes over as manager from Ralf Rangnick, he will rapidly find who should and should not be included in his grand plan to restore United's illustrious history. In light of De Gea's remarks and deeds over the course of this season, he should be a part of the Dutchman's revolution in some capacity, one way or another.