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Paul Parker: Manchester United must sign Nathan Ake to help David de Gea

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David De Gea and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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ByPaul Parker
25/06/2020 at 12:56 | Updated 25/06/2020 at 15:10

Paul Parker believes that Manchester United should sign Nathan Ake to help bring back the old David de Gea.

David de Gea is certainly not finished at Manchester United. The Spaniard was once the best in the world, and has done so much for the side. He helped United reach the Europa League final, saving them on countless occasions. He got them into the Champions League and won them league titles. He has made mistakes, but being a goalkeeper their errors will stand out more than they will compared to other players.

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Look at the mistake against Tottenham Hotspur. It was not De Gea who I’ve noticed as being especially poor in defence. The Steven Bergwijn shot came about because of two other players. I’ve seen Luke Shaw head the ball three times and every time it has been a disgrace, less about doing his job more about protecting his hairstyle.

The header against Spurs was a ridiculous effort. Then Harry Maguire showed abysmal defending, showing his man inside to take a shot on goal. He was given the space to take a shot early with a short backlift. Of course De Gea then should have done better, but so should have Maguire, so should have Shaw.

Tottenham Hotspur's Dutch midfielder Steven Bergwijn (L) celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on June 19, 2020

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It wouldn’t surprise if De Gea is on edge because he does not trust his back four. When you trust your defence, you play much better.

I think that United need to make changes in the transfer window. Harry Maguire should not be on the left on the central defence. He should be on the right where he is more comfortable. I’d drop Victor Lindelof and bring in Nathan Ake from Bournemouth. Chelsea don’t seem to want him, so now is the time to make a move. He has proven that he is a good defender in a poor team. He’s comfortable on the ball.

David de Gea of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 19, 2020 in London, United Kingdom

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Being left-footed, he would bring the ball forward better than Maguire does from that side, which is needed because Luke Shaw isn’t good enough in attack either. Ake would balance the whole side.

Every player has a blip, and it’s up to the manager to coach De Gea, to sort him out and stick him out. He can’t just throw him out. De Gea knows he needs to justify his contract, and the club can’t afford to stick his £300,000-a-week wages on the bench.

Nathan Ake

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The focus on De Gea is an attempt to find a negative angle, to look for something negative about United instead of how they are carrying on their pre-lockdown form, to avoid talking about Bruno Fernandes, a resurgent Paul Pogba or Marcus Rashford’s return from injury.

One player who may be moving on is Jesse Lingard. He is on the periphery now. Once he was delivering for club and country, and he became big news - a local boy who took his opportunity. But now when he gets his chances he can’t stand out and lead a group of young players, and nor do senior colleagues help him raise his game. He’s in a rut.

Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford of Manchester United in action during a first team training session at Aon Training Complex on June 04, 2020 in Manchester, England.

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When the team are playing well, that will be killing him. If you’re in his position, you don’t want the team to do well because then you can get another chance. For now Mason Greenwood, Rashford and Fernandes are doing their jobs. They’ve done what United needed Lingard to do, but he has to get close to Fernandes’ level before he can demand another chance.

Now he’s signed up with Mino Raiola he’s probably looking to get abroad. He’s unlikely to find a top European club who wants him, but everyone is looking for cheap players right now. He could go to Italy to re-establish himself, perhaps at Inter Milan. But he has to ask, is he moving to spark his career or simply to embellish his CV?

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