De Gea - Adjusting was hard

United goalkeeper admits move to England wasn't easy

David De Gea: Manchester United goalkeeper feeling more at home after his first year at Old Trafford

David De Gea has admitted he found it hard to adapt to life on and off the pitch following his move to Manchester United last summer.

The 21-year-old goalkeeper made several high-profile errors in his early days at the club, calling many to question if he was up to the job of replacing Edwin van der Sar.

But he recovered to produce some good displays towards the end of the season and go some way to repaying the faith shown in him by Sir Alex Ferguson, who paid around £17million to prise him away from Atletico Madrid.

But De Gea insists he never lost belief that he could be a success at Old Trafford.

Faith

He told The Guardian: "There were doubts in the first season but I always had faith in my ability.

"The pressure at an elite club like United is huge but Ferguson just told me to do what I did at Atlético.

"You have to be as strong when things go wrong but I don't get nervous. Mistakes are normal; everyone makes them."

But he admits adapting to the Premier League was tough.

He continued: "English football is different, especially for a goalkeeper. It's more aggressive, more physical. It's far, far harder. The ball is in the air more and you get pushed about. And the referees don't blow for anything!"

Many believed that De Gea's slight frame would cause him problems, but the Spaniard revealed that his manager had simple advice for him.

"Eat," he said. "Eat well and lots of gym work.

"Eat," he said. "Eat well and lots of gym work."

David De Gea

Quotes of the week

"We're not talking about a huge amount anyway: just four or five kilos. The other thing is that I am still young and I will naturally fill out anyway."

Further speculation that engulfed the Spanish U-21 international during last season were rumours about a vision problem, but De Gea was keen to laugh those off.

"I'm just short-sighted, like loads of people. I wear contact lenses - in fact, I've got new ones - and I can see perfectly well, just like anyone. I don't understand the fuss. I put lenses in and . . . perfecto."

Tough

He's even getting used to life in another country, although he admits that was tough.

"When you come home in Spain, your family are waiting for you. When you're in England, they're not.

"It rains a lot, it gets dark very early, and maybe you're a bit bored. The winter can be hard and playing over Christmas is a big change. There are hard moments.

"But those are the sacrifices you have to make. And when you play, when you go on to the pitch, when you hear that atmosphere, when you play the game, that small sadness gets washed away. And then you're happy."