By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens

David de Gea is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, according to his team-mate Bastian Schweinsteiger.

De Gea was a key figure as United beat Watford 2-1 on Saturday to lift Louis van Gaal’s side to the top of the Premier League ahead of the rest of the weekend fixtures.

The Spaniard kept United in the game with three fine second-half saves, including an outstanding one to deny Almen Abdi after 71 minutes to preserve the visitors’ 1-0 lead at the time.

Germany World Cup winner Schweinsteiger, who played alongside Manuel Neuer for club and country for many years, is in no doubt about the Spaniard’s standing in the game.

“David De Gea is one of the best goalkeepers in the world,” Schweinsteiger told BT Sport. “We are happy that he stayed here, he made a lot of good saves and you need a good goalkeeper when you want to win something.”

Schweinsteiger’s deflected winner in injury time ensured United left Vicarage Road with three points and – momentarily at least – lifted them to the Premier League summit.

It came after Memphis Depay had justified his inclusion as the spearhead of the attack by opening the scoring with a sweetly-timed volley, before Watford skipper Troy Deeney gave United a fright by converting a late penalty.

Striking display: Memphis Depay scored the opener after starting as the attack spearhead

Striking display: Memphis Depay scored the opener after starting as the attack spearhead

Schweinsteiger added: “In football you always have 90-93 minutes. You always have to believe. There was a bit of luck but we are happy to get the three points.

“You have to sniff a little bit of danger, the angle was not so easy but of course he touched the ball.”