Spain manager Luis Enrique recently revealed that he dropped David de Gea from his squad to accommodate a place for Brentford goalkeeper David Raya.
Moreover, Brighton no.1 Robert Sanchez was also picked by the Spanish national team ahead of De Gea despite his relative lack of experience at the international stage.
So why is the Man United goalkeeper being snubbed by Enrique for players who play for teams like Brighton and Brentford? Take a look below:
De Gea has definitely proven his ability as an elite shot-stopper for United this season. In fact, he’s saved more goal-bound shots than both Sanchez and Raya in the Premier League this season.
The United no.1 has saved +10.6 expected goals in the league, much more to Sanchez (+0.7) or Raya (+1.3).
However, he lags behind in a lot of other technical areas. For example, De Gea has a cross collection percentage of just 3%. Sanchez boasts a 12.3% in that matter, while Raya has an impressive 8% cross-collection rate too.
Even in terms of general saves made, Dave might have made more saves (101) than both his Spanish counter-parts, but his accurate save percentage (72.5%) is not as good as Sanchez (72.8%) or Raya (76.6%).
De Gea has conceded more goals than both the Brighton and Brentford goalkeepers this season, which perhaps can be because of United’s defensive issues rather than his own.
The reality of modern football at the highest level is that just being a solid shot-stopper doesn’t cut it. De Gea’s questionable passing ability and tendency to stick to his goal have probably displeased Enrique in recent years.
For example, the United goalkeeper only boasts 0.21 defensive actions outside the penalty area per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season. He’s glued to his goal too often, causing him and the Red Devils problems at times.
However, Sanchez (1.33) has the third-best defensive actions P90 record for any goalkeeper in the league this season. Raya (1.04) also boasts an impressive stat which shows these goalkeepers are more courageous to come out of their line to make clutch challenges.
Spain’s set-up encourages a very possession-based style with a high-line defence. This needs a goalkeeper to be accurate with his distribution and often come off their line to make clearances.
De Gea falls way behind the likes of Sanchez and Raya in this regard, which is probably why he was dropped by Enrique from the Spain squad.