David de Gea
De Gea is settling well at United. REUTERS

Sir Alex Ferguson believes that summer signing David de Gea has finally adapted to the English style of football, with the Manchester United summer signing now proving to be an integral part of the squad as they march towards the title.

After de Gea was signed by Ferguson as a replacement for the retiring Edwin van der Sar, the manager insisted that his new keeper would need at least a season to gain a good understanding of the English game.

Meanwhile, with Joe Hart emerging for Manchester City as the country's best stopper, pundits thought that de Gea's inexperience may prove to be the decider as United fought with their cross-town rivals for top spot in the Premier League table.

But now, as United sit two points clear of City in the table with a game in hand, Ferguson believes that de Gea has shown wisdom beyond his 21 years.

"It's similar to what we were saying about Steve Kean," he told Sky Sports. "He got a grip of it and stood up as a man.

"The area where he's been criticised was the aerial ability in the box.

"He should have dealt with the last corner against Blackburn [in January, when United lost 2-3 to Rovers] better. He knew that.

"He has addressed that section. He didn't let it get to him and now the boy is playing with confidence. And confidence is a great factor in football."

With only three years senior experience for Atletico Madrid, many believed that it would take de Gea longer than a season to deal with the pressure that comes with playing for a top club like United.

But Ferguson believes that transition has already taken place, and that his performances could now be the reason that the Red Devils snatch the title from their rivals.

"It took him time to adapt to the different ways of the English game and he is showing that now," he explained.

"The other night [against Fulham] he made two or three really terrific punches and blocks in the first and second half when they started to propel the ball into the box.

"He has shown fantastic improvement. We expected his ability to show and we are seeing that now."

United face Blackburn tonight and though Roberto Mancini believes they will slip up and draw with the relegation favourites, de Gea will be planning on putting in a much better performance than the first time the sides played one another this season.