Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has discussed the battle for the number one spot, as Gary Neville says it’s finally time for Manchester United to replace David De Gea.
Over the past 10-and-a-half-years, the Spaniard has rightly been the undisputed first-choice stopper at the club, although recent seasons have seen him fall way below his usual high standards.
United’s most recent Premier League game at home to Everton saw the 30-year-old at fault for the visitors first goal following a tentative palm out straight to Abdoulaye Doucoure, while he was also slow to get off his line for Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s stoppage-time equaliser.
Such high profile errors have become increasingly commonplace over the last 18 months or so, leading for some to suggest that Dean Henderson should be given a start in the coming weeks.
The 23-year-old impressed on-loan at Sheffield United in the top-flight last season, while he’s also caught the eye with a handful of fine saves during the Red Devils domestic cup runs this term.
Having two quality keepers has seemingly left Solskjaer with a lot of thinking to do, the Norwegian saying that Henderson’s performances have made it difficult for him to leave out, saying that players will be picked on form rather than reputation.
“It’s not about who has got the most trophies,” the Man Utd boss said at his pre-match press conference.
“I’m in a very fortunate position to have the goalkeeper department that I have – and it was a conscious decision to bring Dean back to have real competition.
“Dean has made it harder and harder for me, of course, to leave him out because whenever he plays he does really well.
“It’s about what you give to the team, here and now – whether you’re a left-back, right-back, on the left wing or right wing. I think the whole squad knows they have to perform to be in the team.
Embarrassing stuff from De Gea to let Everton back in pic.twitter.com/q38ltx96vi
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) February 6, 2021
“We have, I would say, at least two players in every position who would feel ‘I am a first choice’. The keeper position is no different to the right-back, left-back or centre-forward position.
“It’s about your performances and what you give to the team.”
As for club legend Gary Neville, the former England international believes that De Gea should be replaced, although he admitted Henderson might not be good enough to take the number one spot.
“Your goalkeeper, to win a league, has got to be exceptional,” Neville told Webby and O’Neill.
“I said three or four years ago at the time, Jurgen Klopp took me on publicly, but you’re not going to win a league with [former Liverpool goalkeepers Loris] Karius and [Simon] Mignolet.
“That’s not to say they’re not good goalkeepers, or decent goalkeepers, but which team do you know that wins a league…there might be the odd one, but they usually have great goalkeepers, or goalkeepers that have had a great season.
“Ederson is a great goalkeeper, Petr Cech, Schmeichel, Van der Sar, even Kasper Schmeichel for Leicester, David Seaman, Alisson, you’ve got to have a great goalkeeper.
“We’ve got to start asking questions about David De Gea because the mistakes are coming more regularly now and they cost points.
“The game winning saves, the one-on-one saves are coming less, in my opinion. I think that has to be a question that Ole has to answer.
“Then there’s the question of Henderson, are we saying that Henderson is going to be the number one for Manchester United?
“Honestly, if you want to win the league…If Pep Guardiola or Klopp came into Man Utd, they’d bring a new goalkeeper in.”