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Monday 5 December 2016

United insist De Gea will not be frozen out of team

Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea

Manchester United insist goalkeeper David de Gea will not be frozen out of the team even if he refuses to sign a new contract.

Reports in Spain have claimed De Gea is worried about being left out of the side after his move to Real Madrid collapsed on transfer deadline day, leaving the 24-year-old at Old Trafford at least until January and probably until next summer.

The keeper was sidelined by manager Louis van Gaal during August while the uncertainty over his future continued, but the club say De Gea will now be treated just like any other member of the squad.

A United spokesman said: "Those reports are absolute rubbish, the team will always be picked solely on merit."

De Gea's current United contract expires at the end of the season and there is little expectation at the club that he will sign a new one, as he will be a free agent come June and able to sign a lucrative deal with a new club - almost certainly Real.

Reports in Spain had suggested that De Gea may not get a fair crack of the whip for United, something that would be a big problem for him at international level for Spain with the Euro 2016 finals next summer.

De Gea and out-of-favour keeper Victor Valdes were both included in United's 25-strong Premier League squad yesterday.

Two-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome vowed to be back soon after being ruled out of the Vuelta a Espana with a fractured bone in his foot.

The Team Sky leader, who has twice finished runner-up in the Tour of Spain, did not start Thursday's 12th stage, won by Danny van Poppel (Trek).

"I'm really gutted to be leaving the race but the injuries that I sustained on (Wednesday's) stage were too much to continue. I'll be back soon," Froome told teamsky.com.

The 30-year-old, who won his second Tour de France title in July, sustained the injury in a crash early on Wednesday's 11th stage.

He was 15th overall, seven minutes 30 seconds behind race leader Fabio Aru (Astana), after conceding more than eight minutes to the Italian on Wednesday.

Froome hit a barrier and stone wall in the opening kilometres of the 138-kilometres stage, but finished the brutal test before undergoing scans which confirmed his injury.

"An MRI scan has shown that I have fractured navicular bone in my right foot, so now I'll work with our medical team on making a full recovery," Froome added.

The Kenya-born Briton was hoping to become the third rider in history to win the Tour and Vuelta in the same year and first since the latter event was moved towards the end of the season. It used to take place in April.

Froome is no stranger to withdrawing from Grand Tours, having been forced to quit the 2014 Tour de France, which began in Yorkshire, with a fractured hand and a fractured wrist.

He responded by reclaiming the yellow jersey of Tour de France champion and was targeting a first red jersey as Tour of Spain winner, having finished runner-up in 2012 and 2014.

Froome's withdrawal could have repercussions for Great Britain's hopes in the Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia at the end of this month.

Van Poppel won the 173km stage from Escaldes-Engordany, Andorra to Lleida in a sprint finish ahead of Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge).

Aru finished safely in the pack as the top of the general classification standings remained unchanged.

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