Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that he will need to make a difficult decision in order to choose who to make his first choice goalkeeper next season. David De Gea has endured a turbulent season with some mistakes costing United dearly, especially against Chelsea in the semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup only a matter of weeks ago. This poor form has caused lost of speculation which has seen Dean Henderson aim to take De Gea’s shirt in the not too distant future.
United number two, Sergio Romero is a great quality goalkeeper and has played in eight of the ten matches played in the UEFA Europa League this season and looks set to be trusted in goal against FC Copenhagen in the quarter-finals of the competition, which will be played on Cologne on Monday evening. Dean Henderson is another top quality goalkeeper who has done well in his first season in the Premier League whilst he was on loan with Sheffield United.
De Gea has been a great goalkeeper for much of his time at United, which is almost a decade. He literally became the player that kept United together during the turbulent time which saw United managed by David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, being named as the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year four times in five seasons; 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2017/18. Ander Herrera (2016/17) and Luke Shaw (2018/19) won the award during the other two seasons.
So far this season, De Gea has played in the Premier League, starting all 38 matches, also playing twice in the Carabao Cup and once in each of the Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League. The Spaniard has kept a total of 15 clean sheets, conceding 43 goals. Romero has played eight times in the Europa League (so far), five times in the FA Cup and three times in the Carabao Cup, keeping 11 clean sheets and conceding five goals. Solskjaer feels that having three decent goalkeepers is a good problem to have with The Mirror reporting:
“I think I must be the most privileged manager in the world with the goalkeeping department.
“Sergio [Romero], David [De Gea] and Dean [Henderson]. Three top ‘keepers. This season has shown how important Sergio has been for us. David has been performing there.
“We’ll see what we’ll do going forward. Difficult? Yes. But that’s a good problem to have.”
Henderson, playing for Sheffield United, made 36 appearances in the Premier League with four more in the FA Cup. He kept a total of 14 clean sheets, conceding 37 goals in total. Solskjaer feels that it would be near enough impossible to satisfy all three goalkeepers next season with all of them craving minutes for United plus to add to that, Lee Grant is also in contention, in his final season at the club. Concluding his comments about the goalkeeper situation, Solskjaer talked about competition for places, which is something he is looking to have, saying:
“I think as you say, competition for places is important and we’re looking to have competition for places.
“We have Dean, Sergio and David at the moment in the ranks. Lee [Grant], the fantastic professional he is, is backing them up. But it’ll be difficult obviously to keep three of them at the club, so we’ll see what the decision will be there.”
It could be a battle for the number on shirt at United this summer and depending on what happens with Henderson, the likes of De Gea and Romero will be vying for the honour to lead United as the number one goalkeeper. If this speculation helps De Gea find his form once again, great. If not, then United will be in good hands as they look to start again with a rookie goalkeeper in the ranks, if Henderson ends up staying at the club with Sheffield United seemingly wanting him at the club for another season and Chelsea also holding interest in the player.
Written by John Walker