Man United: De Gea makes contract case

Manchester United ensured that they remain in touching distance of league leaders Arsenal following the 3-0 win over Leicester City on Sunday afternoon, with Erik ten Hag‘s side producing an impressive second-half display to maintain their hopes of a title challenge.

The Red Devils had endured a “rubbish” opening period at Old Trafford – in the words of their manager – although they clinically struck the first blow through that man Marcus Rashford, with the in-form Englishman lashing the ball past a helpless Danny Ward from a tight angle.

The red-hot marksman then broke away once again just before the hour mark to calmly bag his 24th goal of the season, ensuring that the 25-year-old now boasts career-best figures in all competitions with three months of the campaign still left to play.

While game-changing substitute Jadon Sancho sealed the win soon afterwards at the end of a stunning sweeping breakaway, it was the standout display of his compatriot which truly caught the eye, with Rashford showcasing just why there is such a desire to see him pen a new long-term deal.

Ten Hag had admitted pre-match that an extension for the versatile forward is of real importance to the club, with United unable to allow their prize asset to depart any time soon, with just under 18 months to run on his current contract.

The Three Lions star was not the only United player to have made a strong case for a new deal against the Foxes, though, with experienced team-mate David De Gea illustrating that he still has a key role to play at the Theatre of Dreams in the years to come.

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How did De Gea play against Leicester?

The 32-year-old’s immediate future still appears somewhat in the balance, with his contract set to expire this summer and reports in recent months suggesting that the Premier League giants are hoping to agree to a new deal on reduced terms.

The Spaniard himself has outlined that negotiations will come to an amicable conclusion whatever the outcome – whether in regard to staying or going – although yesterday’s performance appeared to showcase a man who is keen to extend his 12-year stay in Manchester.

On a day which largely belonged to the club’s attacking talents after the interval, Ten Hag was keen to point out the importance of De Gea’s performance between the sticks, with the former Ajax boss stating after the match that “it was only because of” the long-serving stopper that his team still had a clean sheet athalf-time.

Amid a shaky start for the hosts against Brendan Rodgers’ side, the 44-touch maestro produced two key interventions early on, notably denying Harvey Barnes from close range with a remarkable save to his right.

The £375k-per-week ace then arguably bettered that stop by producing a breathtaking diving save to claw away Kelechi Iheanacho’s bullet header, with those moments of genius having been influential in thwarting the initially buoyant visitors.

That “superb” outing, as per Manchester Evening News journalist Samuel Luckhurst, has laid bare that De Gea is a true master at keeping the ball out of his net, having subsequently moved level with the great Peter Schmeichel with 180 clean sheets for the club so far.

While there may be concern over the former Atletico Madrid man’s ability on the ball, having notably looked uneasy in the recent defeat to Arsenal, the 45-cap machine continues to pop up with potential match-winning moments.

As such, while much of the attention may well be focused on Rashford’s long-term future, De Gea’s contract must also be a point of priority for Ten Hag and co.