David de Gea
De Gea is hoping his superb United form will be rewarded with a World Cup call-up.

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea is hopeful of taking advantage of injury to Barcelona's Victor Valdes by snatching a place in the Spain squad for this summer's World Cup finals.

Valdes has been ruled out for the remainder of the season and the finals in Brazil after tearing his anterior cruciate knee ligaments against Celta Vigo last month and after undergoing surgery will miss the next seven months.

With Iker Casillas and Pepe Reina assured of a place in Vicente del Bosque's squad as Spain look to defend the World Cup from 2010, the third goalkeeping spot remains unfilled and United stopper De Gea is hopeful to staging a late assault on the vacant position.

"Victor Valdes has picked up an injury and the first thing to say is that's it's an absolute shame and not something you'd wish on anybody, least of all him," De Gea said on United's official Facebook page.

"It's an awful situation but perhaps it might open a door for me to be at the World Cup."

Although De Gea is the outstanding candidate to accompany Casillas and Reina to the World Cup as Spain's three 'keepers, Espanyol's Kiko Casilla and Real Madrid's Diego Lopez represent stiff competition.

Amid United's failed attempts to retain their Premier League title in David Moyes' first season in charge, De Gea has been the shining light for the club.

The former Atletico Madrid stopper produced another assured display in keeping Bayern Munich at bay in the Champions League quarter final first leg which after finishing 1-1 gives United a realisitic chance of reaching the last four.

United's performances in Europe have been in stark contrast to their league form of late but De Gea is lost for an explanation as to why.

"It's hard to say why," he said. "There's no particular reason for it. But we've certainly played better and been more consistent in Europe than in the league.

"They're two different competitions and things haven't gone well in the league, but the Champions League is a special competition, the team have done well.

"It's been quite a tough period for us in the league and we were down after the defeats to Liverpool and (Manchester) City.

"But we are United and we must lift ourselves and fight. This is a big club and at difficult moments is when you stand up and show people how big you are."