De Gea eyes gold
Manchester United goalkeeper dreaming of Olympic glory
By Rebecca Stephenson (Follow me @1rebs). Last Updated: July 23, 2012 5:03pm
David De Gea: Manchester United keeper dreaming of Olympic glory
David De Gea believes winning the Olympics in London would be just as significant as any of Spain's recent triumphs.
The Manchester United goalkeeper is preparing for the Games at the Spanish Football Federation's HQ near Madrid, as they look to become the first country to be World, European and Olympic champions at the same time.
And whilst Team GB's team may be seen by some as a novelty act, for Spain the tournament is deadly serious - the squad includes three of the side who triumphed in Euro 2012 at the start of July and nine of the 11 that won the European Under-21 title last summer.
And the 21-year-old is in no doubt as to the importance of the tournament to his country.
He told The Guardian: "This is a huge event, worldwide, one that has enormous repercussions.
"We're talking about a unique competition; special, completely different. One we're taking very seriously.
"Imagine it - standing there on the podium, the national anthem playing, a gold medal round your neck ... it is a dream.
"There are players here who have won everything with the senior side and yet they desperately wanted to be here with us too. That says it all."
The presence of the likes of Juan Mata, Jordi Alba and Javi Martínez and the disappointment Sergio Busquets felt at not being involved illustrates his point. But it is the togetherness of the youngsters that De Gea believes makes them serious contenders.
"We have played together for a long time," De Gea continued. "We know each other, how we play, how we work, and we get on well.
"We play like the senior side. The style is the same at all levels, bring the ball out from the back, keep possession, work gaps to create chances. It's like that from the Under-15s all the way through. That's the Spanish way and it has triumphed.
"The senior side has set the bar so high and, whether we like it or not, that puts the pressure on us. It also motivates us, though. We want to try to emulate them. It won't be easy but we know that we have a good team.
"People have asked me if I would like to be the man of the tournament. I'd much rather it was one of the attacking players."
De Gea also admits that it will be special to play for his country in his adopted home.
"We'll be playing at Old Trafford too," he added. "That will make it even more special for me and might mean that we have the fans on our side: I always feel like Spanish football is popular in England. And it's right next to my home."