Why David de Gea? Eric Steele Video Session

David de Gea brought his parents to Manchester, played 65 matches his first year and won four major trophies by age 19.

What were the six most important things Manchester United and Eric Steele prepared before the arrival of David de Gea?

  1. Nutrition (accustomed to late dinners 9:45)
  2. Language
  3. Strength and Conditioning
  4. House
  5. Driver’s license
  6. Psychologist Sir Alex

Legendary GK Coach Eric Steele coached Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar when they were 37 years old. He coached David de Gea and Joe Hart when they were 19. This incredibly charismatic man has been known to say that “repetition is the mother of all learning.” He was solely responsible for hand delivering de Gea to Sir Alex when de Gea was only 19. The following nine GKs were in the shop window for him to evaluate and lure to Old Trafford: Joe Hart (England), Petr Cech (Czech), Hugo Lloris (France), Thibaut Courtois (Belgium), Jack Butland (England), Asmir Begovic (Bosnia/Canada), Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Manuel Neuer (Germany) and David de Gea (Spain). A decade ago, 6’1.5” was the average height of a GK in the EPL, today it is 6’3”. Two GKs finished the 2016 EPL season 6’1” and under, Hugo Lloris and Casper Schmeichel. Hart had the physical stature, Schmeichel had the psychological/mental makeup, de Gea had the technique, and van der Sar was a master tactician.

Why de Gea? What criteria did Steele use?

DNA of a GK

  • Winner
  • Part of a team
  • Wins “big games”
  • Mentally strong
  • Mentally Calm
  • Leader
  • Confident

You must know your place as a GK coach and recognize the strengths of the GKs you are coaching. With Hart and de Gea he asked, “How are we going to develop you as a GK?” With van der Sar and Schmeichel he asked, “What do you feel you need?”.

DNA of a Goalkeeper Coach

  • Stay fit, prolong your career/ physically and mentally. Steele coached 85 games his first year at United
  • Be ready for the special one
  • Learn to nurture
  • Have you got a program in place?
  • How do you improve all GKs and the “special one”?
  • Trust your judgement
  • Sell the “Special One” not “Yell”!

Explore our other session from Eric Steele here!


Enjoy the following four-minute video session that provides the opportunity to consider the following objectives: Stance/hand position, first step movement, balance, how far down the line? (starting position) and transferring pressure to striker.

00:00            Cognitive activation

00:18            Warmup incorporating GKs and field players

00:43            Moving ball, stationary defender

01:06            Near post reactions (foot save technique)

01:30            1V1/2V2/3V3 to goal

01:50            Strikers combination play

03:13            4V4 match (starts with service into the GK)