David de Gea has become the first goalkeeper in six years to win the Player of the Month award.
The Manchester United goalkeeper has enjoyed a renaissance this season, recapturing the form that previously saw him touted as among the best shot stoppers in the world.
Southampton’s Fraser Forster picked up the gong back in 2016. Since then though no goalkeeper has scooped the award – until De Gea’s exploits this month.
The Spaniard kept a clean sheet last time out against West Ham at Old Trafford.
Prior to that De Gea made several crucial saves as United withstood a Brentford onslaught before claiming all three points in west London.
The Red Devils goalkeeper has faced his critics in recent seasons with calls for him to be dropped as Dean Henderson waits in the wings.
However Ralf Rangnick, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did before him, has kept faith in the Spaniard.
De Gea, throughout the month of January, according to Opta stats made more saves than any goalkeeper in Europe’s top five leagues.
In doing so he also according to Opta’s xG On Target metric, prevented more goals than any Premier League goalkeeper in that period.
Throughout January’s four fixtures he made a total of 22 saves.
That has helped him claim the award for the first time after making 361 Premier League appearances and keeping 127 clean sheets across more than ten years.
De Gea saw off competition from Jarrod Bowen, Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Harrison, Joao Moutinho and James Ward-Prowse.
Ralf Rangnick recently hailed De Gea’s contributions, claiming that he and Manuel Neuer were in the same bracket.
He told the club’s website : “Well, I think they are both definitely on the list of the top five goalkeepers in the world, maybe even in the top three.
“They are both in a fantastic shape, physically and as well as on the line, when it’s about controlling the box, David de Gea is probably one of the best if not the best in the world and we are very happy to have him.”
De Gea has hailed the influence of Rangnick, who is currently in charge until the end of the season.
The German is known for his intense style and the Spanish goalkeeper concedes the squad cannot let their foot off the gas.
“He’s put on very intense training sessions, high tempo all the time. You cannot relax,” he said.
United take on Middlesbrough in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Friday night.