Cool Britain a bonus for Spain keeper De Gea

The prospect of cloudy skies, rain and cooler temperatures at the London Olympics is music to the ears of Spain's Under-21 goalkeeper David de Gea.

The Manchester United No.1 is perhaps more acclimatised to the vagaries of the British weather than many of his team-mates, having moved to Old Trafford last year, but will welcome the change from the soaring temperatures of central Spain that have hit 40 degrees Centigrade during the last week.

"It is colder, but from my point of view it is better for playing football," De Gea told Reuters after completing a training session at their national team headquarters in Las Rozas, on the simmering Castilian plain just outside Madrid.

"We just have to get used to it. Obviously I already am, but people quickly adjust."

Spain's senior side have swept all before them over the last four years stringing together victories at Euro 2008 and 2012, either side of a first World Cup triumph, with a brand of possession football which has been nicknamed 'tiki-taka.'

That style of play has been nurtured from the youth ranks right through to the top and the Olympic-bound team, based around the under-21s, who were crowned European champions last year, are among the tournament favourites.

Spain's under-19s also scooped the continent's top prize a week ago, a sign that the country's footballing pre-eminence could continue.

"We have a style based more on touch and control, whereas over there [in Britain] it is more aggressive and physical, but that's the only difference," the lanky 21-year-old said.

"Football is football wherever you are."


De Gea dismissed criticism that the patient 'Spanish style' is boring.

"Spain's style is a winning style as the senior team have proved," he added. "It's a style that suits us because of the characteristics of the players we have, and it's a style that wins games.

"[Spain's pre-eminence] could continue for a long time, but there are some very good teams, people know how Spain play, and it is getting tougher."

The Madrid-born goalkeeper, highlighted the British team coached by former England international Stuart Pearce as one of their main rivals for the gold medal.

"The British team is very good, I have some colleagues in it, and I wish them all the best," he said. "A team like this always needs to be considered a favourite, and you have to watch out for them."

At the end of their training session in Las Rozas the Spanish players took part in a high-spirited penalty shootout amid whoops and cheers.

The famous chipped penalty Antonin Panenka took to win Czechoslovakia the European Championship final in 1976, which was successfully mimicked by Italy's Andrea Pirlo and Spain's Sergio Ramos at Euro 2012, seemed to be particularly popular among the players.

The 'Panenka penalty' can leave a keeper looking foolish if he dives, and the taker with egg on his face if the keeper stays put, and was the cause of much mirth.

"It seems people enjoy trying the Panenka," De Gea, who saved a penalty on his Atletico Madrid La Liga debut, said.

"Of course, it's more painful to concede one this way, but that's just the way it is."

Spain fly to Glasgow this weekend for their opening Group D match against Japan on July 26, before playing Honduras and then Morocco.