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Feb 6, 2012

VDS: De Gea must deal with pressure

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has told David De Gea he must learn to "deal with'' the pressure of being the club's No.1.

• Fergie to escape FA action

De Gea, 21, arrived at Old Trafford from Atletico Madrid in an £18 million deal last summer following Van der Sar's retirement and was heralded as the Dutchman's successor.

However, a shaky start to life in the Premier League has led many to question whether the Spaniard will ever be able to handle the physical nature of English football.

De Gea recently appeared to lose the faith of manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who was using Anders Lindegaard as his first-choice goalkeeper prior to a recent injury, though he returned to the starting line-up for the Red Devils' 3-3 draw at Chelsea on Sunday.

Van der Sar says he can understand the difficulties of adjusting to life in the Premier League, but insists De Gea needs to quickly adapt if he is going to establish himself as United's leading goalkeeper.

"It's always difficult if you're coming into a new club and new league, especially the English one," Van der Sar said. "It's a very demanding one, can be a very tough one.

"He has to deal with that. They paid a lot of money for him and he has to come through that.''

Van der Sar watched on as former deputy Lindegaard appeared to usurp De Gea as No.1 last month and the Dutchman says his old team-mate is gutted to have been cut down by an ankle problem.

"I spoke to Anders and he's disappointed, of course, that he's injured at the moment because he's really been magnificent," Van der Sar said.

Even if De Gea continues to struggle, though, Van der Sar inists there is no chance of him following in the footsteps of Paul Scholes and coming out of retirement.

"I got a few text messages from friends saying, 'What about you?','' Van der Sar added. "[But] I'm quite happy at the moment. There's no doubt in my mind."

The former Netherlands captain says he was not surprised at Scholes' U-turn, having spoken to the midfielder last year.

He said: "I was at Carrington and he was watching a training session and I said, 'So, how do you like it?'. He said, 'Not really. I miss it'. He was still there doing his work as an assistant coach with the reserve team so it was probably a little bit easier to get back in.''

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