Ex-Man Utd man questions if Red Devils star has any ‘strengths’ and calls for return of former hero

Joe Williams
Man Utd goalkeeper Andre Onana
Andre Onana during a Premier League match.

Former Manchester United defender Paul Parker thinks David de Gea was “a goalkeeper you could rely on” unlike Andre Onana.

De Gea had verbally agreed a new contract at Man Utd in the summer, only for the Red Devils to retract it and put a new offer for less money on the table.

Man Utd eventually announced that he would be leaving when his contract expired at the end of last June and the Spaniard is still out of contract.

Onana was the man to replace him over the summer with the Cameroon international leaving Inter Milan for Old Trafford in a €55m deal.

But Onana has come in for some criticism early on in his Man Utd career and now ex-Red Devils full-back Parker doubts the former Ajax goalkeeper “will ever perform well” for Ten Hag’s side.

Parker told SpilXperten: “Andre Onana’s weaknesses has to be his abilities as a goalkeeper, especially his ability to save the balls, his shot stopper abilities and his handling. He is erratic and he is never in control of his saves, it bounces off him.

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“I hope it will be a David de Gea story, where he all of a sudden gets to understand English football. Everyone keeps telling me how great he was for Inter Milan but I just can’t see it.

“Italian football is not as intense as English football and he is challenged a lot more now than he was in Italy.

“David de Gea was a goalkeeper you could rely on and Onana is not that. David de Gea’s mind was right, and I’m wondering if he will ever perform well for Man United.

“His strengths… What are his strengths actually? I don´t know. It has to be that he is actually decently confident on the ball but he is still miles away from Ederson or Allison, even though everyone expected him to be on that level with his feet.

“He is definitely struggling both mentally and physically, way more than he did in Italy.

“People were very cynical and disrespectful to David De Gea because he was better at saving balls than playing as an outfield player, but we have to say that Onana is not that good with his feet. He might be above average and it tells me a lot if people were highlighting his abilities with his feet if he is not better than what he has shown so far.

“I think everyone can see that Onana has a poor back four in front of him, but De Gea had that as well and he did what he did and Onana has never been close to doing that.”

De Gea has been linked with a move to a number of clubs, including the latest rumours of a potential move to Real Betis, but the Spanish club’s manager Manuel Pellegrini has poured cold water on the speculation.

On the likelihood of De Gea joining Real Betis, Pellegrini said: “If you ask me I would say I don’t think so.

“I think what happened with Fran was more or less what we expected from him. He trains every day, he is a goalkeeper who has many abilities, he did not have the slightest responsibility for the goal, he was calm and for me it was a very good performance.

“We know how difficult it is to practically debut in professional football with everything that the outside environment entails.”