David de Gea set to reach impressive landmark against Aston Villa

Alex Turk

David de Gea looks set to reach an impressive landmark as Manchester United goalkeeper on Thursday night, should he face Aston Villa.

The Reds travel to Villa Park as they look to bolster their Champions League qualification hopes in the midst of a 16-game unbeaten run.

It'll be a huge night for United, should they bag another three points, but it looks set to be an even bigger night for De Gea.

Should he play, as he has done in the other 33 Premier League games this season, he'll have racked up the second-most appearances by a goalkeeper in United history.

He made his 398th appearance for the club against AFC Bournemouth on Saturday, which equalled the tally treble-winning stopper Peter Schmeichel accumulated during his eight years at Old Trafford.

So, one more outing would push De Gea past Schmeichel into second behind another United great in Alex Stepney.

It's unlikely the acrobatic Spaniard will be surpassing Stepney's appearance record though; the 1968 European Cup winner played a staggering 539 for the Reds.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made sure to speak some sentiments about De Gea in his pre-match press conference on Wednesday morning:

“He's had some fantastic seasons here now and next year is his 10th. I think he's proven [former goalkeeping coach] Eric Steele right, that we believed in him. He had a little bit of a tough ride early on, with the physicality of football in England, but, for me, he has been the best goalkeeper in the world over the last nine or 10 years. Just to work with him closely, you see he's still keen to learn, he's still working hard. Richard [Hartis] coming in with Craig [Mawson] as the coaches, I think they've reignited a little bit of a spark in David and he's working really hard in training.”

Be sure to check out Stretford Paddock's in-depth Three-Point Preview ahead of United's trip to Villa on Thursday night: