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Eric Steele
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Desc Eric Steele is former Manchester United goalkeeper coach


Club as Coach Manchester United [goalkeeper coach]

2017 12 09 Retrieve

[Eric Steele gives insight into the club’s pursuit of David de Gea] I can only remember Sir Alex Ferguson missing two United matches. He missed a Manchester derby in 2000 for his son’s wedding. The other time? To scout the brilliant David de Gea. I joined United in 2008 and, from that moment, we needed to be ready for the day Edwin van der Sar retired. I was convinced that a 19-year-old De Gea was the right man to replace him. I showed a three-minute DVD compilation to Sir Alex and then we went to watch him play for Atletico Madrid at Valencia on the night United played Scunthorpe in the League Cup. Sir Alex knew he was the right signing inside 65 minutes. David showed composure, concentration and reflexes. He made one terrific save that went through a load of bodies. He makes every kind of save, he dominates his penalty area. He is now the greatest goalkeeper in the world

2019 09 06 Retrieve

[Former Red Devils coach Eric Steele says Manchester United could have a home-grown successor to David de Gea when the time comes to find a new goalkeeper] Yeah, I did it [looked abroad]. And as you know, it was at a very big club. At the time, I had to have a good look around. I look now, and it has come half circle - not quite full circle yet, but it’s got to encourage us. As an England set-up, it’s great to have more English keepers playing in the Premier League, and long may it continue. We’ve probably now got the best depth [in English goalkeeping], so St George’s Park has worked. The DNA is right. We are seeing the fruition of that - we’ve won tournaments. And developed a lot of talent

Back then [when De Gea joined], in terms of the work you would do on the training pitch, it would probably be 70 per cent focused on the hands - making sure you keep it out of the net - and 30 per cent on the feet, with the ball. Now, it’s probably reversed. Premier League coaches have realised the positive impact keepers can have on the team. It’s developed immeasurably over the last 10 years. You’ve got to have that. I still believe you have to keep the ball out of the net. But look at Alisson, look at Ederson. Look at Pickford for England.

Steve Holland (Gareth Southgate’s assistant) did a session here [with the senior England squad] - a whole session on how to defend set plays. But he did that within a game environment, so that brings the goalkeepers right into the centre. It’s familiarity with both the hands and the feet - deal with the shots and the crosses still, but out of possession, goalkeepers now have to sweep behind their defence. It’s all about an awareness of danger, and an awareness of how to build attacks. And you have to do that within a team framework

2019 10 14 Retrieve

[Eric Steele says Dean Henderson believes he can be the Manchester United’s No. 1] He has all the physical attributes you need. Plus that cockiness and confidence about him. He sees himself as the biggest challenger to David de Gea at Manchester United and I love that. Even though he is not at the club right now. I have no problems with that. He is doing the right thing and getting experience at a good club. He is still a young keeper. Peter Schmeichel didn’t come to Old Trafford until he was 28. David de Gea was the exception at 19 or 20. I have said this to Dean privately. He is still a young keeper.

Knowing Dean as I do, what he will be thinking is, ‘Richard Hartis (Manchester United’s senior goalkeeping coach) and Ole Gunnar [Solskjaer], please keep sending your scouts to Sheffield United’. He knows he is being watched. He knows what is required. David de Gea has signed his new deal. There are some good goalkeepers at the club. Sergio Romero is talented, while Lee Grant is a very good senior goalkeeper. But Richard Hartis will be asking, ‘Who is going to challenge De Gea?’ I am sure Dean will be thinking he can be the No.1 at Manchester United

Dean wants to be England No. 1. I give him great credit for that. There are seven English goalkeepers playing in the Premier League. A really good group. But he has come through the England set-up. We have a good group of young players who will continue to provide Gareth with headaches. Dean just needs to keep his feet on the ground. He is working with a good goalkeeping coach in Darren Ward. The manager also definitely won’t let him get ahead of himself. He is at a good club

2020 03 03 Retrieve

[former goalkeeping coach Eric Steele says Man Utd should’ve recalled Dean Henderson in January] I wonder whether United should have brought Dean back in January because David needs a challenge. He doesn’t see that with Romero and Lee Grant. Romero has done what he was asked to do - he’s been a number two. He’s done a solid and sound job when he’s been asked to play, but I don’t see him as a two who can be a number one, but I do see Henderson like that. I could see Henderson coming back and getting a 10-game run

Dean’s doing so well that people are now starting to talk about him playing for England in the Euros rather than Jordan Pickford. That’s great for Man United, but the club have big decisions to be made by Ole and Richard [Hartis, United goalkeeping coach] in the next three or four months. Do they sell Dean or do they bring him back at the end of the season because if they do, Dean will want to come back and play. Having Dean back will bring a massive challenge for David. Dean will have had a full Premier League season behind him and he’s proven in the top league and proven at all the clubs he’s played for

David is coming into his prime now. He has to accept that he’s a big player in this team being built by Ole. He’s not the young kid on the block. He has to relish the challenge and say ‘I’m a major part of this team’

2020 05 07 Retrieve

[Eric Steele claims David de Gea wanted to leave Manchester United for Real Madrid due to differences with Louis van Gaal] When he was under Van Gaal we knew the reason why he wanted out - they did not get on, and it didn’t work. He would have gone to Real Madrid if it wasn’t for what happened on transfer deadline day. He was not displeased with the fans or the club, but it was clearly something that had gone on behind the scenes. Now things are different. He has got a smile on his face, the club are improving and I cannot see why he would want to leave

Knowing Dean Henderson as I do, he will expect to walk into that Old Trafford dressing room and make the No.1 jersey his own, now. I signed him at 14 and stayed close to him - he has a great attitude. David will have known there was always going to be a young pretender to come and challenge him and that is what Dean will do. It will not faze David. You do not get to where David de Gea is today without overcoming obstacles

When United are back in the Champions League, you can have a 65-game season. Nobody can play every game. Should contracts permit, United need to say to him [Henderson] ‘you are not going out on loan, you are here to compete with David’. He will value the experience at Sheffield United - he is better prepared now to take that challenge on. United are in such a strong position. David will relish the challenge and come back stronger