De Gea thanks United fans

Goalkeeper spurred on by the supporters' backing

David De Gea: Has recovered from a shaky start to become a contender for Man United's Player of the Year

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Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has thanked the fans for sticking with him despite a difficult start to his United career.

The Spain Under-21 international made a handful of high profile errors in his early appearances in a United shirt following his £18.9million move from Atletico Madrid last June.

The 21-year-old was even dropped at the turn of the year in favour of Denmark 'keeper Anders Lindegaard.

However, an ankle injury suffered by Lindegaard offered De Gea a route back into the first-team, an opportunity he has grasped with both hands.

De Gea has been in fine form in recent months, playing his part in an upsurge in form that has seen the Red Devils overtake long-time title favourites Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

That form has not gone unnoticed by the supporters, who are backing De Gea as a contender for United's Player of the Year award.

It marks a remarkable turnaround in the youngster's fortunes given his difficult early weeks at the club, but he is quick to highlight the role the supporters have played in helping him settle in at Old Trafford.

"It is nice to know supporters are voting me," said De Gea.

More relaxed

"It is always a positive when the fans are behind you. It is something I can sense when I am on the field and makes me feel more relaxed.

"It is a source of extra motivation when you know the fans are right behind you and rooting for you.

"But all that aside, it is just a case of getting your head down, keep working hard and making sure you do have a continuous improvement all the time."

De Gea also revealed he was learning English to further integrate himself into the squad, while warnings given to him about the English weather and cuisine have proved unfounded.

"Before I came, people back home were saying the weather in England is terrible and the food is not much better," he added.

"But I am quite a happy, easy-going kind of guy who likes to have a joke around and, to be totally honest, I like the food, the weather has not been so bad either and I am trying to pick up as much English as I can so I can take part in the dressing room banter."