From the moment Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea pulled on a jersey, it seemed The Red Devils number one was destined for greatness.
Since signing his first professional contract with Atletico Madrid at the age of 17 and following two years with Atletico B, de Gea was quickly promoted to the first team for Los Coloncheros.
Following winning the both UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup in 2010, it was clear the Madrid-born youngster was the real deal. So much so, he was earmarked early on as the heir to Iker Casillas' goalkeeping throne.
Casillas and de Gea vie for keeping slot
It is sheer irony then, that the two are now vying for the number one spot in Vicente del Bosque's Spanish starting XI.
Following a string of a erratic performances for his former club Real Madrid, since moving to FC Porto, Casillas' form has returned to something like his best.
Both he and de Gea continue a gradual rotation process, however the latter started versus Italy on Thursday and pulled off a string of saves, holding Antonio Conte's Azzurri to a 1-1 draw in Udine.
David de Gea happy with 'healthy' rivalry
David de Gea may now keep his place for Sunday evening's game versus Romania in Cluj, but whatever the case, the Spaniard remains philosophical.
Speaking at the press conference ahead of Sunday's game (via Football Espana), de Gea stated, “I’m happy to get minutes and put in a good performance." The 25 year-old spoke of his friendly battle with Casillas also: "competition is healthy. The coach will decide who plays."
“We’re talking about one of the best goalkeepers in the history of this country and the world [in Casillas]. I’m here to give everything I can.”
Whether David de Gea does finally make the long-protracted switch from Manchester to his hometown club of Los Blancos, de Gea is sure to be a regular fixture in the Spanish national side. For now though, competition with compatriot Iker Casillas is both healthy and productive for the Manchester United number one.