Manchester United have got to ask a lot about their last line of defense. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has a handful of goalkeeping options but finding a definitive number one will be a big ask from the boss. The position,said to be the ‘unforgiving’ one, may come back to bite them in the new season.
Solksjaer have to make a decision on Dean Henderson after the goalkeeper completed his two-year loan spell at Sheffield United. His return to his parent club means there is a developing surreal competitions between the other two shot-stoppers in the ranks.
Former player and Sky Sports pundit, Gary Neville addressed this issue in his platform. “The idea that Dean Henderson would come into Manchester United and replace David de Gea as No 1 goalkeeper straight away… it won’t happen, I can guarantee it won’t happen” he said.
“This has got ‘problem’ written all over it. The one area of the pitch where you need consistency and stability is your goalkeeper. You need to know who your No 1 is, you cannot be flip-flopping. It just does not work; I’ve never seen it work at any club or at international level,” Neville added.
So, what Manchester should do? We look at some of the situations Solksjaer have to handle in the upcoming season regarding the men with gloves on.
Is De Gea still the number one at Manchester United?
This is the question circling around the minds of Manchester United fans for a long time now. The Spanish keeper’s performance of late was not encouraging. De Gea made fatal mistakes in crucial fixtures, costing them points. He also spilled Mason Mount’s shot in the FA Cup semifinal tie to their eventual demise against Chelsea. Plus, he receives additional criticism for getting beaten in the near post time and time again.
The time may have arrived for De Gea to get replace but it is something needs to be obvious. The former Atletico Madrid keeper served the Red devils for over nine years. He established himself to be one of the best in his role during this period. Flashy saves, commanding personality and commitment became his talked characteristics. Moreover, he gained a lot of experience by playing at a high level.
Not only that. De Gea saved Manchester United in difficult times. The 192 cm long goalkeeper came out to his team’s rescue when asked for with his antics saving points for the English giants. So, he may still be the first choice candidate for his place in the new season.
Dean Henderson is a fantastic prospect
Dean Henderson, the lad that everyone is discussing about, finished his two-year loan spell at Shieffield United to work for his parent club now. The 23-year old received enormous plaudits for his showings at Bramall lane. Henderson proved over there that he can handle the heat of the Premier league.
The young keeper put up a save percentage of 76.85% last campaign for Chris Wilder’s side. Under their manager, Shieffield United play with a rigid defensive and Dean became an important part of it. Not only he had to combat difficult shots but also maintain the back-line with his shrewd instructions. All of these makes him a future star in that position.
Dean Henderson returned to Old Trafford for the 2020-21 campaign and also signed a long term contract with Manchester United. He penned down a 5-year old contract keeping him until 2025. The club has made it clear that Henderson will be their future number one. But it will ask a lot of him to get offered that duty instantly for the new campaign.
Future of Sergio Romero
Sergio Romero is someone who went under De Gea’s shadow since joining Manchester United in 2015. Despite being the second choice, The Argentinian have a fair amount of appearances under his belt. Romero had been a productive customer in those outings. His most notable memory with the Red Devils is to lift the Europa league title in 2017, playing a key role in their journey.
Recently, Romero is overlooked by Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. The Norwegian opted to go for De Gea in two crucial semi-final affair in Fa Cup and the Europa league respectively. But it didn’t helped them because the Spanish goalkeeper’s mistakes eliminated them from those. Whereas, Sergio Romero guarded the post in these competitions up until the semifinal stages.
Romero was reportedly angry and wanted a move out. The chairman, Ed Woodward believed to have listen to bids from other team but the prime runners for his signature ultimately turned their their heads somewhere else. Dean Smith’s Aston villa decided to go for Arsenal’s Emiliano Martinez instead of his national teammate Romero even after being linked with him for days. The situation is such that Romero have to play back-up yet again.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has a big issue to handle. There is a possibility of ego clashes, wrong picks and unwanted competition in the dressing room if the three top valued keepers feels uncomfortable with their proceedings. Manchester United won’t wish for something like this to build up in a period they are attempting to go back to their best.
Gary Neville reflected something similar happened during his playing days at Old trafford. He doesn’t want the issue to repeat and cause a major downfall between the goalkeepers. He quoted, “Once you take David de Gea out of the team and put Henderson in, you may as well forget about De Gea. That’s coming from my experiences at United.
‘The period between Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar we had Ricardo, Fabien Barthez, Mark Bosnich, Roy Carroll, Tim Howard, Massimo Taibi, many goalkeepers over a five to six-year period and there was inconsistency that certainly didn’t help.’
Solksjaer cannot allow the same to build in the team. He has been handed a project to work on and slowly but steadily he will try his best to get the maximum out of his squad. Manchester United will also be firing in the 2020-21 campaign for the Champions league. So, it needs to be sorted out who will don the gloves as a first choice.