David de Gea says he is in the best form of his career after he helped Spain end their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign with a 1-0 win against Ukraine in Kiev.
The defending champions cruised to victory in their qualifying group, winning nine of 10 games to top the standings by five points from Slovakia, with Ukraine settling for the play-offs.
Spain had De Gea to thank after a string of fine saves in Kiev earned him widespread praise in the Spanish press.
The Manchester United stopper hopes to displace Porto’s Iker Casillas from the number one spot in time for next summer’s European Championship in France and he feels his form right now is increasing his chances.
De Gea said: “I have to compete to the max. It’s true that I had a bit of luck today, but I did well and I’ve got to keep it up. I’m in the best form of my career.”
Despite the collapse of his proposed summer move to Real Madrid, De Gea is viewed by many as the long-term successor to Casillas at the Bernabeu and he wants to heap the pressure on Vicente del Bosque to put him ahead of the 34-year-old as Spain’s first-choice goalkeeper.
“I will try to be at my best and make things difficult for the coach. What I want is to maintain the line I had last season, when I think I was at a great level. It’s tough to stay at that level. I want to keep growing and improving,” De Gea said.
The 24-year-old has won back his place as United’s number one since the transfer window closed and will hope to help his team bounce back from defeat at Arsenal last time out when they go to Everton on Saturday.
United are 2.20 to win the game at Goodison Park, while they are 2.75 to keep a clean sheet.