Spain coach Vicente del Bosque hailed David De Gea after the Manchester United goalkeeper’s heroics saw La Roja escape defeat at Italy.
Spain drew 1-1 in Udine in Thursday’s international friendly, with Aritz Aduriz equalizing shortly after Lorenzo Insigne’s 67th-minute opener for the hosts, but De Gea — making his eighth international appearance — stole the headlines as he made six saves.
The 25-year-old has been looking to establish himself as the nation’s No. 1 keeper ahead of veteran Iker Casillas, who will hope to be given a chance to impress away to Romania on Sunday, and Del Bosque was impressed with his showing.
“We selected De Gea because this was an important game, just as Sunday’s match is,” the former Real Madrid boss said.
“We chose him to do his duty and he showed confidence and efficiency. We are delighted that David has done so well.
“For some time now he has been with us and little by little he has the confidence of everyone and he has proved that in this game.”
Since making his senior debut with Spain in June 2014, De Gea has conceded five goals in eight games, helping the side to five victories and one draw.
Del Bosque remained coy over his preferred keeper for Euro 2016, though, saying: “De Gea and Casillas are good.
“We have absolute confidence in our two goalkeepers. We have goalkeepers in good condition and we will not enter into comparisons.”
Madrid-based newspapers Marca and AS both backed De Gea to enter the tournament as Spain’s No. 1 following the match.
“Another night in De Gea’s hands” was the headline in Marca, which added: “De Gea and 10 others.”
AS, meanwhile, said De Gea’s “sublime” performance against Italy “ended the goalkeeping debate for Spain” and said in its headline: “Fax from De Gea to Del Bosque.”
Former Madrid keeper Casillas, who has made 165 appearances for Spain, has received criticism after making some high-profile errors at Porto this season.
Del Bosque has stood firmly behind the 34-year-old, though, and said: “It’s impossible that goalkeepers don’t make mistakes.”
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