De Gea to retain Spain spot for Russia clash, Hierro confirms

The Roja head coach will not be dropping his number one for their last 16 clash with Russia, despite widespread criticism

Spain boss Fernando Hierro has insisted he will not drop David de Gea from his starting line-up ahead of the knockout stages of the World Cup.

The Manchester United goalkeeper has attracted widespread criticism following his performances so far in Russia, where he conceded five goals in three group stage matches.

The 27-year-old was particularly scrutinised following a glaring error he made in La Roja’s 3-3 draw with Portugal and, while he kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Iran, he shipped a further two as Morocco held his side to a 2-2 draw in the final group outing.

Spain have Athletic Bilbao’s Kepa Arrizabalaga and veteran Pepe Reina to choose from as potential alternatives to the Red Devils shot-stopper, but Hierro has indicated that he has no desire to make a change between the sticks for the upcoming game against Russia.

Asked by Marca if De Gea will remain in goal for the  last 16 clash against the World Cup hosts, the 50-year-old responded: “Yes, he will play.

“I respect the opinions of everyone, but the one who makes the decisions is us, I have a lot of clear ideas for the match against Russia.”

Despite conceding five goals, Spain finished ahead of Portugal in Group B and Hierro is preparing for a tough test against the tournament hosts.

“We know how Russia plays, the leading strikers, the air balls that are very dangerous,” said the former Real Madrid star. 

“These are their characteristics in general but they also play in their stadium and with their fans.”

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