Jonny Evans believes it was a good thing David de Gea could barely speak any English when he arrived at Manchester United because it stopped him being exposed to all that harsh criticism he came in for.
De Gea is yet to dispel all the doubts about him.
The 21-year-old’s slender frame still appears inadequate to cope with the rougher edges of being a Premier League keeper.
Indeed, had it not been for the ankle injury that has ruled Anders Lindegaard out for an indefinite period, De Gea might still be struggling to reclaim the first-team berth Sir Alex Ferguson gave him following an £18m summer move from Atletico Madrid.
However, as each game passes, De Gea shows unquestionable signs of quality.
On Thursday at Old Trafford he produced a reaction save which denied Siem de Jong a second-half goal that could easily have condemned United to an embarrassing Europa League exit, despite taking a three-goal advantage against Ajax.
And, as his command of English improves, so De Gea is making his presence felt inside the dressing room, those dodgy early performances in the Community Shield and at West Brom now becoming increasingly rare.
“Probably it was a good thing David couldn’t speak English at the start,” said Evans.
“It seemed like he was coming into training and nothing was affecting him. He was just getting on with his game.
“But it was because he couldn’t read or understand what was going on around him. Overall, that was probably better.
“Now his presence is building. The language barrier is being broken down and he is coming out of his shell a bit.
“He has a joke now and is not afraid of getting involved in some of the dressing room chat. That is settling him down,” added Evans, whose United side travel to Norwich City in the league tomorrow.
Rio Ferdinand will return to central defence but Wayne Rooney (throat infection) could miss out.