De Gea wouldn't start for Real Madrid, says David James

The former England goalkeeper believes competition for a starting spot with Keylor Navas swayed the United stopper’s decision to remain at Old Trafford this summer

Manchester United’s David de Gea would not get into Real Madrid’s team, according to former goalkeeper David James.

The Spain stopper was heavily linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu all summer before his expected return to La Liga fell apart in an error-strewn transfer deadline day for United and the Madrid giants.

However, despite De Gea reclaiming a starting spot in Louis van Gaal’s side, James – who retired in 2014 after wining 53 caps for England – believes the 24-year-old would be a mere back-up at Real.

“You look at Navas at Real Madrid, it’s no wonder De Gea didn’t go there,” he said.

“When you think that Navas is such a good goalkeeper that De Gea wasn’t necessarily going to be the number one anyway.

“I think it was possibly a reason, because Navas is awesome. He has been for a few years now.

“I enquired a couple of years ago to Arsene Wenger, ‘Why don’t you go for Navas, £8million or £10million buy-out?’ He had (David) Ospina on his card, he went for Ospina, didn’t he?

“Navas has had an exceptional start to the season in Spain and justified my theory that he is up there, if I say the top three – as a loose number – in the world because he is that good.”

James added: ”I think he is (better than De Gea), yeah. I think his all-round game, he’s got a lot more about him. Don’t get me wrong, David de Gea’s performed at an amazing level over the last three years.”