David de Gea
De Gea's performances for United are getting more consistent. Reuters

Roy Keane has weighed in on the debate surrounding David de Gea's recent performances, with the Manchester United legend admitting that of the goals conceded so far, he believes some of them have been 'shocking' at the hands of the keeper.

De Gea made the move to Old Trafford last summer for a reported fee of £17.8 million. The stopper was always aware that pressure would be high to provide an apt replacement for the retired Edwin van der Sar, and at just 20 years old at the time, it was expected that he would take some time to adapt to the Premier League.

And though De Gea has shown moments of brilliance that prove why Ferguson saw him as a top signing this season, the youngster has also made mistakes that have proven costly for United. And Saturday was yet another example of goalkeeping mistakes being lethal for the Red Devils as they lost 2-1 to bitter rivals Liverpool.

Keane believes that De Gea's performances will be very unsettling for rest of the United squad, with his position particularly important as the side push to take pole position from Manchester City.

"De Gea looked a bit nervous," Keane said after the Liverpool game, as reported by Manchester Evening News.

"When you have a nervous goalkeeper it can go through the whole team. He looked really nervous.

"He has to stick his chest out and say, I am number one today, I am going to produce a big performance.

"Goalkeeper is the most important position at Manchester United. That is why United got Edwin van der Sar at 34. United are missing that experience and presence.

"United will be kicking themselves. They have conceded shocking goals.

"You work all week on your tactics and your team shape. It was a direct kick (for the winner). Carroll is 6ft 4in, you expect him to win the header but Patrice Evra should smell the danger.

"I think he gets caught out in a lot of the bigger games. He should tuck in. He has let Kuyt get the wrong side of him. I bet the boy couldn't believe his luck."

It seems every pundit in English football has at some point turned on De Gea this season, though Ferguson has proven his critics wrong by having faith in his youngsters many times before.

And though Keane believes the squad might be unsettled, Michael Owen has lept to de Gea's defence on Twitter, insisting that the United players are behind their young keeper and believe he will become more consistent as time goes on.

"Don't agree with all this negativity towards De Gea," Owen wrote.

"Admittedly he has made a couple of mistakes this season but listening to some people you would think he had a nightmare. I'm not having either goal was his fault.

"The problem is, once you get labelled, mud sticks and now any tiny mistake is magnified. Other keepers make similar mistakes and nothing gets said.

"The ball was on the six-yard box for the first goal. He has to go for it. He also needs to watch the flight of the ball.

"There are then six players in front of him. There is nothing he could do. In my opinion two bad goals to give away but to blame everything on the keeper is totally wrong. The lad will be a top keeper, he is only young.

"Harsh to blame him for everything. The fans know he needs their support, his confidence needs boosting. I'm sure he will repay that support for years to come."

With that in mind, De Gea's performance against Stoke this weekend will be closely watched, with the game a must win for the club to stay in close hunt for the title.

David de Gea highlights so far this season:

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