De Gea has cemented his place as the club’s number one goalkeeper this season after Dean Henderson threatened to take his place in the team in the previous campaign.


The Spaniard has produced some brilliant saves this season, including a couple of stunning stops in Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Norwich City last weekend.



His lack of form ahead of the current campaign brought question marks over his long-term future at Manchester United and Steele conceded that constant change of managers has not helped him.


However, his former coach stressed that Manchester United’s recent obsession with playing out from the back has taken out De Gea’s brilliant ability to distribute the ball long accurately.



Steele is hopeful that Ralf Rangnick’s love for direct football will again bring out the best of De Gea’s ability to find players with his accurate long balls.


The former Manchester United goalkeeping coach told The Athletic: “All the changes of managers and ideas are not easy, nor was the change in rules to goal kicks.



“I never agreed with the way United played out with Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof because it took away one of David’s best attributes: his unbelievable natural ability to pass accurately and distribute the ball over distance.


“He can hit a 40-yard ball more accurately than [Harry] Maguire and [Victor] Lindelof. I looked at some of his clips from his second year recently — the distribution was incredible.


“It’s sad to have that taken away because it was part of the reason that we bought him, we wanted a young Edwin van der Sar.


“Maybe that will change under Rangnick because he’s not a big lover of playing these short triangles and inviting pressure.”


De Gea’s place in the team is no longer under threat with Henderson tipped in some quarters to leave Manchester United on loan in January.