Manchester United international watch: Darmian, De Gea shine

David de Gea and Juan Mata started for Spain against Italy, with United teammate Matteo Darmian starting for the Azzurri.

Manchester United international watch: Darmian, De Gea shine
Matteo Darmian (third from the left) put in a great shift against Spain in an international friendly. Photo credit: FIGC/Twitter

Three Manchester United starters picked up caps for their home nations in the international friendly between Spain and Italy at the Stadio Friuli in Udine, Italy. David De Gea and Juan Mata were both starters for Spain in the 1-1 draw, while Matteo Darmian started as a member of Italy’s back three.

David De Gea had an eventful night. Photo credit: @D_DeGea/Twitter
David De Gea had an eventful night. Photo credit: @D_DeGea/Twitter

David De Gea had an unlucky night

David De Gea, who many think should be Spain’s number one keeper over Iker Casillas, was continuously challenged against an insistent Italian attack. While conceding Spain’s first goal in over 690 minutes, De Gea had reason to be frustrated with his defenders. The Italians challenged De Gea on multiple occasions in both halves, resulting in the same level of quality saves that Manchester United fans have come to expect. 

Easily the busier of goalkeepers on the night, De Gea managed six saves from seven shots on target.

Darmian started out of position

Matteo Darmian, normally a full-back, was deployed by Italian boss Antonio Conte as a makeshift centre-back putting in a sparkling shift for the Italians. While Italy did give up a set piece goal, Darmian was vital in nullifying Spain’s attacking threat on the night. With the Italians playing out of the back on the night Darmian was consistently on the ball with Spain directing play away from his side of the pitch.

On the night, Darmian notched 90 touches, with a passing success rate of 88.3%. He notched three interceptions and two clearances, on one aerial duel won.

Mata substituted at half time

Juan Mata started for Spain on the right wing, a position Louis van Gaal has deployed him in with great success over the past two seasons. He managed a few decent crosses, but was largely ineffective against Davide Astori before being substituted at half-time for Atlético Madrid’s Koke.

Putting in a workmanlike shift, Mata notched up 33 passes with an overall pass percentage rate of 84.9%. He managed one interception, but overwise had a quiet night.

All statistics provided by