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Carrick hails De Gea
Michael Carrick believes David de Gea showed his true character in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of a Champions League examination at the Bernabeu.
Whilst Manchester United left Madrid following their draw with Jose Mourinho's Real feeling it could have been even better, they were also aware had it not been for De Gea, they could well have been out of the tie.
"There is no bigger pressure cooker really than this stage of the Champions League and coming to a place like the Bernabeu," said Carrick. "He was coming back home as well, so there was an extra spotlight on him. Some of his saves kept us in the games at times. It just showed what he is all about."
From his brilliant fifth-minute save to tip Fabio Coentrao's curling shot on to a post, to the unorthodox manner in which he kept the full-back out deep in the second half, De Gea was outstanding.
It was not perfect, he missed a couple of crosses for a start, but given the criticism that has been heaped on the 22-year-old virtually since his arrival at Old Trafford for a hefty £18million at the beginning of last season, it was a fine effort from De Gea, and one which suggests his United career has been written off a bit too soon.
In theory, De Gea has been shielded from some of the sharper observations about his lack of physicality and unsuitability for the English game because he does not speak the language.
As if to prove the point, he answered questions in the pre-match press conference in his native tongue. Yet, apparently, he does have a grasp of English, enough to be hurt by the comments made about him.
Carrick has endured similar brick-bats at times. His advice is to take no notice.
"It is never nice when people question you but that is natural at a club like Manchester United," he said. "You are always getting questioned and criticised. That is just how it is. That is fine. You have to deal with it.
"He is a top keeper and he is only going to get better. To play at this club at such a young age and have so much on your shoulders, says enough on its own."