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David De Gea gives clearest indication yet about battle for Man Utd future

David De Gea has insisted he still sees a long-term future for himself at Manchester United after celebrating a decade with the club.

De Gea recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of his United debut following his move from Atletico Madrid in 2011. Since joining the club, he has won seven trophies and many more individual accolades. But the days of him being a guaranteed starter week in, week out have passed.

The Spaniard faced competition for his place from Dean Henderson last season after the academy graduate returned from a successful two-year loan spell with Sheffield United. In total, De Gea played 36 times and Henderson 26.

Going into the new season, there have been many debates about who will be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s number one. De Gea is still only 30 years old, but Henderson is the one with the longer-term contract.

Now, though, De Gea has made it clear that he plans to be at United for “a lot of years” in addition to the 10 he has already spent with them.

He told the club’s official website: “It’s been a lot of years at the club and a great source of pride for me to have been able to play for a club like Manchester United for so many seasons now.

“But you have to live in the present. I think I still have a lot of years ahead of me at the club, I’m excited about that, feeling strong and I’m very keen to do well.

“I feel great in myself, high in confidence and I think it should be – and has to be – an important season for all of us.”

De Gea showed his commitment for the season ahead by returning early to training in the summer. Elsewhere in the discussion with his club’s media team, he explained why he took that step.

“I think you have to set an example,” he said. “I’ve been here a long time and I’ve always tried to show the right example to everyone, to get in early and always be here with my team-mates, to keep contributing.

“I feel great, really strong, both physically and mentally, and I’m eager for the season to get under way and for us to start well. We all have to be united together, all of us at 100 per cent, and yes, it’s a vitally important season ahead.”

De Gea welcomes fresh competition

United have already added another goalkeeper to their ranks this summer, bringing in Tom Heaton as a free agent after his release from Aston Villa.

It marks a return to the veteran’s first club, although he will have his work cut out to dislodge either De Gea or Henderson. Even so, he remains optimistic of getting some gametime.

De Gea named Heaton as the signing he is most enthusiastic about, due to how much they will work together, and welcomes the fresh competition.

“[I’m especially excited to welcome] Tom, the keeper, who I’m with a lot of more of the time,” he said.

“He’s a great bloke and a top keeper. He’s really going to bring a lot to the group and let’s hope it’s the same with the rest of the signings too.

“They have great quality and I reckon that it’ll be easy for them to settle in.”

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