Anders Lindegaard has backed David De Gea to become Manchester United's first-choice goalkeeper but warned the Spaniard he intends to keep the gloves until he retires - in 10 years' time.

In the wake of Manchester City's title-bid, United's struggles in midfield, and concerns over their failures in the Champions League; the rivalry between United's two No.1s has become an unexpected sideshow for the club this season.

After starting the season as De Gea's understudy it is Denmark international Lindegaard who has staked the most viable claim to be considered Edwin van der Sar's successor at Old Trafford.

Lindegaard has played the last three games for Manchester United after finally dislodging De Gea and the 27-year-old is expected to remain in goal for Sunday's trip to Arsenal.

De Gea has struggled to establish himself as Manchester United's No.1 since arriving in England in a £18.3m move from Atletico Madrid last summer, but Lindegaard claims his chief rival has the potential to be United's best goalkeeper in the coming years.

"David has extraordinary attributes; he is extremely explosive and powerful," Lindegaard is quoted in the Telegraph.

"He is only 21. His potential is massive and there is no doubt he will be United's best goalkeeper at some point.

"My job is to make sure it is not until I have retired. Which is 10 years away."

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is likely to view the current situation with trepidation, willing to alternate between the two keepers only so long as rotation does not negatively impact United's title push.

The relationship between goalkeepers is a dichotomy unique to football, encompassing both fierce loyalty and direct competition - but it is usually most evident at a national level, rarely in the modern era has one manager so regularly rotated his first-choice keeper.

Indeed, these are unlikely the conditions envisioned by Ferguson when he planned for life without van der Sar, but it is a situation that Lindegaard believes can spur both De Gea and himself to improve.

"I am doing everything I can to help David. I enjoy working with him. He's a great lad. He is happy, intelligent, always with a good attitude and we have to push each other," Lindegaard is quoted in the Daily Mail.

"We have to see the glass half full, not half empty, at this point and we have to push each other in the right direction.

"It has been very good for both of us. Every time we play the last guy to wish the keeper good luck is the other keeper. We have a very good relationship."

He added: "I am very proud of what I have made out of this. Three years ago I was in Denmark's second division. Nobody knew my name.

"When I first came here nobody could pronounce it. It has been fantastic to this point and right now is not the time to relax about it, but to keep pushing on, to get better and to get the best for yourself and the club.

"It is the first time I have played three games in a row and that is what I want, to play as much as possible, but I don't need a definition of my position."