It's a curious aberration now, but David De Gea endured a turbulent introduction to English football at Manchester United. Now without an equal in world football, De Gea was timid during much of his first season at United, and marred his debut with the concession of a straightforward shot by Shane Long.
Alex Ferguson maintained staunch belief in De Gea, however, and as an interview published today elucidates, the erstwhile United manager was never willing to put up with media criticism of his 'keeper.
Adam Crafton of the Daily Mail has a book out entitled From Guernica to Guardiola, which examines the Spanish influence on English football. His interview with De Gea has been serialised in today's paper and rakes over his difficult introduction to life in England.
Among his critics in those early days was one Gary Neville, who was settling into his new job at Sky Sports, was critical of De Gea after United dropped points against (Lads, it's) Tottenham.
Here's how it is recounted by Crafton:
Ferguson was exasperated by Neville's analysis of the Tottenham game, in which he scrutinised the body language of Vidic, Evra and Danny Welbeck in the aftermath of De Gea's error.
Neville insisted United players would admonish De Gea in the dressing room. Ferguson privately rebuked Neville and sources from the dressing room on that snowy afternoon insist the pundit misread the situation. As De Gea entered the dressing room, senior team-mates rallied round him.
The full interview is excellent, and can be read here.