David de Gea has been warned he is no longer Spain’s guaranteed first-choice goalkeeper after Kepa Arrizabalaga both of La Roja’s recent Euro 2020 qualifiers.
The Manchester United star endured a difficult end to the 2018/19 season and watched Spain’s Euro 2020 qualifying victories over Faroe Islands and Sweden on the bench.
De Gea’s difficult 2018/19: Five key things to know…
- De Gea made a number of mistakes for Manchester United towards the end of the campaign.
- His errors contributed to United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League.
- The Spaniard was far from his best for Spain at last summer’s World Cup, too.
- Spain assistant Robert Moreno says De Gea must be ready to face competition from the likes of Kepa.
- De Gea conceded 54 Premier League goals in 2018/19, 26 more than he shipped in 2017/18.
De Gea watched on as Arrizabalaga kept a clean sheet on Monday evening against Sweden, with Spain running out 3-0 winners thanks to second half goals from Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Morata and Mikel Oyarzabal.
After the game, Spain assistant coach Robert Moreno suggested De Gea has a fight on his hands to win back his place between the sticks.
“We don’t think the De Gea period with Spain is over,” Moreno told reporters. “But Kepa had an incredible end of the season – champion of the Europa League with great performances.
“In this concrete moment, we thought that Kepa could help us in a better way. The competition is now on.
“When you have something easy, you get relaxed, and that’s not good. The competitiveness is also good in goal.
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“It’s not just about one single thing. We already watched Kepa play quite well in the Europa League, so you could already guess he was in good shape. But we had to check it in the team.
“I talked to Luis Enrique on Friday, right before the game, and we chatted about it. And after the game, we decided to keep him in the line-up.
“It’s not one concrete moment when we decided it, but we started commenting the lineup a long time ago, and then when you have all the info on your hands, that’s what gives you the last push to take the decision.”
De Gea vs Arrizabalaga
Arrizabalaga experienced his own struggles in 2018/19, notably when he refused to be substituted in the Carabao Cup final and was subsequently punished by Chelsea.
But the Blues goalkeeper mostly comes out on top when compared to De Gea.
Despite playing two games fewer than his countryman, Kepa conceded 39 Premier League goals to De Gea’s 54.
Kepa also kept more clean sheets (14) than De Gea (seven) and finished the season with a better passing accuracy rate, completing 85.44% of his passes to De Gea’s 60.02.
However, De Gea has a slightly better save percentage (68.97%) than Kepa (67.77) and made more saves per 90 minutes (3.21) than the Chelsea man (2.28).