David de Gea is “enjoying football” and determined to re-establish himself at Manchester United after his proposed £29m move to Real Madrid collapsed on transfer deadline day.
De Gea was given his first competitive outing this season in Spain’s 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifier win over Macedonia, having been left out of United’s squad for their first four Barclays Premier League fixtures as he was expected to complete a move to the Spanish capital club.
The two clubs were unable to complete the deal in time and both United and Madrid blamed each other for the transfer failing to happen.
The goalkeeper now faces a battle to regain his first-team spot at Old Trafford with incumbent Sergio Romero keeping four clean sheets in six matches in all competitions though De Gea, who was grateful for Spain coach Vicente del Bosque giving him his first outing of the campaign, has been included in the club’s squad for the Champions League.
“I felt well,” he said to the Spanish press, talking about the opportunity to start for the national team. “The coach (Vicente del Bosque) has given me confidence.
“Now we need to continue to work and let’s see if I’m also lucky in my club. My future is going to be the same as it is now. I’m calm, will continue to work and improve.
“In conclusion, enjoying football. I’m happy.”
Juan Mata expects his United and Spain team-mate to have a smooth return to Old Trafford.
“De Gea is very well regarded at the club and by the coach (Louis van Gaal),” Mata said to Spanish sports newspaper Marca. “I believe everything will continue to be the same.
“From what I perceive, I don’t think there is going to be any issue upon his return, neither from the club, the coach nor the fans.”
De Gea moved to United in 2011 from Atletico Madrid and has made 131 appearances for the Red Devils since.
“The fans love him a lot,” Mata said of De Gea. “In the past two years David has been the best player in the team due to the saves he made and the many points those saves gave us.
“I have no doubt that this year is also going to be very good for him.”
Mata has applauded De Gea’s attitude throughout a summer in which the Madrid-born player has been the centre of transfer speculation.
“I’ve spoken to him a lot in recent days,” Mata said. “It has been a busy time with a lot of stress, but he is such a calm person that he has managed to maintain his focus.
“Nothing changes him, he is going to continue to be the great goalkeeper he was.”
De Gea has not played for United since a friendly against Paris St Germain on July 29.