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David de Gea’s exit will provide Man United player opportunity to grow into specific role



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Credit: IMAGO / Propaganda Photo

David de Gea’s contract at Manchester United has officially expired after 12 years at the club.

The Spaniard joined the Old Trafford club in 2011 to replace Edwin van der Saar in between the sticks.

The likelihood is that De Gea has played his last game in United red. Whilst negotiations are set to continue following his wedding celebrations this weekend, it seems unlikely that United will resign the 32-year-old.

That most probably means a new goalkeeper will join the club. Andre Onana seems the primary option and Inter are reportedly demanding £42 million plus add-ons.

However, United will also be looking to replace the experience that De Gea had at the club – the Spaniard was the longest serving Red at the club. The next in line is somewhat of a surprise.

Luke Shaw is now officially the longest serving player at the club after De Gea’s contract expiry. He signed for the club in the summer of 2014.

Now at the club for his ninth campaign, Shaw has began to take on responsibility as a leader in the squad in recent times, and De Gea’s exit has left an opening for the left-back to grow even more as a leader in the United squad.

Last season especially showed the Englishman in a different light publicly. From his interviews, it is clear that Shaw has high standards for himself and the club, and he generally comes across well in those moments.

He’s usually the one to speak when United lose or draw too, which is typically a job for a leader within the dressing room. Also, he spoke openly about his poor form at the start of the season and how he fought back to get into the side. It was a two-game period but the fact that Shaw has mentioned it several times shows the standards that are now being set.

Now being the longest serving player at Old Trafford, Shaw has the opportunity to take on further responsibility as a leader – whether that be in the media or behind the scenes.

The likes of Bruno Fernandes, Casemiro and Raphaël Varane are all great players and leaders, but Shaw’s position in that leadership group should grow going forward.