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September Review: David De Gea, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jesse Lingard lead the plaudits

Manchester United played six matches in September which saw the return of the Carabao Cup and the UEFA Champions League along with the Premier League. It was the first of a busy few months for United. The month started well with Cristiano Ronaldo returning to the club with a bang, scoring five goals in his first five matches for the club but United did not start well in either the Champions League, losing to Young Boys or the Carabao Cup, exiting following a defeat to West Ham United. Despite the defeats, which also includes the one to Aston Villa, United won two Premier League matches, earning six points and sit fourth in the league. They ended the month with a victory over Villarreal in the Champions League.

September Statistics: United started and ended the month on a high but saw problems in the middle.

Six matches played; three wins and three defeats. Six Premier League points won out of nine, knocked out of the Carabao Cup, which is more of a bonus rather than a negative and got their first points in the Champions League with a late victory over Villarreal. United scored nine goals in September, conceding seven. Cristiano Ronaldo scored five goals, Jesse Lingard scored two and both Alex Telles and Bruno Fernandes scored one each. Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes got two assists with Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic and Luke Shaw getting one each. Not the best month in the history of the club but it ended a positive one.

11 September – Manchester United 4-1 Newcastle United – Premier League

Goals: Cristiano Ronaldo 45+2′, 62′, Bruno Fernandes 80′, Jesse Lingard 90+2′; Javier Manquillo 56′

Assists: Luke Shaw 62′, Paul Pogba 80′, 90+2′; Allan Saint-Maximin 56′

Manchester United beat Newcastle United 4-1 at Old Trafford in the Premier League. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring in added time at the end of the first half, scoring his 119th goal for United. The Magpies equalised through Javier Manquillo in the 56th minute of the match before Ronaldo sealed his brace six minutes later. Bruno Fernandes scored a stunner in the 80th minute with Jesse Lingard getting on the scoresheet in added time at the end of the match. Paul Pogba got two assist with Luke Shaw getting the other. United will face Young Boys in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. Top of the league.

14 September – Young Boys 2-1 Manchester United – UEFA Champions League

Goals: Nicolas Moumi Ngamalo 66′, Jordan Siebatcheu 90+5′; Cristiano Ronaldo 13′

Assists: Silvan Hefti 66′; Bruno Fernandes 13′

Manchester United were beaten 2-1 by Young Boys in the opening UEFA Champions League group stage match of the season. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring, assisted by Bruno Fernandes in the 13th minute of the match. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off for a bad foul in the 35th minute of the match, leaving United with ten men. Nicolas Moumi Ngamalo found the equaliser in the 66th minute of the match with United doing so well at that stage. United tried to hold out but Jordan Siebatcheu found the winner in the fifth minute of add time with the Swiss side getting all three points from the match.

19 September – West Ham United 1-2 Manchester United – Premier League

Goals: Said Benrahma 30′; Cristiano Ronaldo 35′, Jesse Lingard 89′

Assists: Jarrod Bowen 30′; Nemanja Matic 89′

Manchester United beat West Ham United 2-1 in the Premier League at the London Stadium. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side once again came from behind to set their unbeaten away run to 29 matches now, two more than Arsenal’s record from 2004. Said Benrahma opened the scoring in the 30th minute for the Hammers but five minutes later, Cristiano Ronaldo levelled the match. It looked like a 1-1 draw before Jesse Lingard won the match for United. There was late drama with a penalty awarded for the Hammers but David De Gea made the save from Mark Noble’s effort. What a match, what a moment, what a result!

22 September – Manchester United 0-1 West Ham United – Carabao Cup

Goals: Manuel Lanzini 9′

Assists: Ryan Fredericks 9′

Manchester United were beaten 1-0 by West Ham United in the third round of the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford. Ryan Fredericks assisted Manual Lanzini for the only goal of the game in the ninth minute of the match. The Hammers fans will suggest they played well against United, but they were pretty lucky. David Moyes had his team sat back for the entire match, which is why he did not succeed at United as he does not have an adventurous style of play for his teams. Anthony Martial was terrible, which is something that has been obvious for some time – perhaps Anthony Elanga should replace him in this team?

25 September – Manchester United 0-1 Aston Villa – Premier League

Goals: Kortney Hause 88′

Assists: Douglas Luiz 88′

Manchester United fell to a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa in the Premier League. It was the first league defeat of the season; the third in all competitions with two of those coming at Old Trafford. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side lost both Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire to injury before seeing Kortney Hause head home in the 88th minute to put Villa ahead in the match. Edinson Cavani called for a penalty as Hause handled the ball in the box in added time and the penalty was given both by the referee and VAR. Bruno Fernandes took the penalty, sending it over the crossbar. United 18-match undefeated run against Villa is over.

29 September – Manchester United 2-1 Villarreal – UEFA Champions League

Goals: Alex Telles 60′, Cristiano Ronaldo 90+5′; Paco Alcácer 53′

Assists: Bruno Fernandes 60′, Jesse Lingard 90+5′; Arnaut Danjuma 53′

Manchester United beat Villarreal 2-1 in the Champions League at Old Trafford. It was a cagey first half with chances galore for the away side, however in-between David De Gea saving United’s blushed and poor finishing for Villarreal, United were able to avoid conceding a goal. Eight minutes into the second half, Paco Alcácer opened the scoring, assisted by Arnaut Danjuma. It took United just seven minutes to equalise with Alex Telles getting his first goal for United, assisted by Bruno Fernandes. United needed a win and that is what they got with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring in added time, assisted by Jesse Lingard.

Cristiano Ronaldo – five appearances, 432 minutes played, five goals and one MOTM award.

What a return to the Theatre of Dreams for Cristiano Ronaldo. At 36, the United haters, which included some of the cos own fans this season (the ones on Twitter, not at Old Trafford) said all they could to write him off. He’s had a better impact at the club than Alexis Sanchez, despite not matching his nine assists – but has done his five goals. A brace against Newcastle United, then single goals against Young Boys, which was a defeat, West Ham United, which was an equaliser, and now the winner against Villarreal in the Champions League, the Portuguese forward has much more to give in his career and long may that continue.

Jesse Lingard – five appearances, 174 minutes played, two goals and one assist.

A resurgent display whilst on loan for the second half of last season at West Ham may have saved his career. Seemingly on the cards for an exit in the summer but he decided to stay and fight for a place. He’s not got all that many minutes but goals against Newcastle, West Ham and an assist for Ronaldo’s winner against Villarreal shows that he might just be reborn at United, although he needs to be offering a lot more across the remainder of the season. A good player to bring off the bench at this moment in time and long may that continue too. There has been far worse players to have played for this club in the not too distant past.

David De Gea – five appearances, 450 minutes played, one penalty save and two MOTM awards.

It has been a resurgent display for David De Gea this season. He has started to rediscover his form and prove himself at the club, which is a good sign as it looked like the end of the road for him last season with Dean Henderson seeking to derail him. His positioning has become much better, he has the confidence to make saves again and saved that late penalty against West Ham, which kept United ahead and grabbing all three points from that cagey match. De Gea has been the saviour for the club in a few matches this month, and this season for that matter. He won the Man of the Match awards for the wins over West Ham and Villarreal.

Notable Mentions: Raphael Varane, Alex Telles, Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic and Jadon Sancho

There have been few players to rise to the challenge at the club this month and a few more could do a lot more for the club. Raphael Varane has strengthened the United defence to the point where there is some sort of confidence, although more could be done to stop goals being leaked. Luke Shaw has continued his form from last season, despite picking up and injury against Aston Villa that ended his month. Alex Telles has played some vital minutes after his return from injury, scoring his first goal for the club against Villarreal in a much needed win in the Champions League, coming after three defeats in four matches.

Nemanja Matic has shown his worth for United but also underlined the importance of solving the problems with the midfield, which would complete this squad for United moving forward. Matic is the only experienced defensive midfielder at the club and his performances of late have helped United, but it is well known that he cannot continue to be relied on as his performances slip the more he plays. Jadon Sancho has started to settle at the club and has shown glimpses of his worth to the club – despite the media and the CEO of Borussia Dortmund criticising his playing time at United, which so far has involved him playing 402 minutes of a possible 810 so far.

Who is your Player of the Month for September 2021?

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Who is your Manchester United Player of the Month for September 2021?

A look at what lies ahead in October…

United will play five matches in October, which could have been six if they had made it to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup, which now gives them a rest between the matches against Liverpool (Home) and Tottenham Hotspur (Away). United will play four Premier League matches in October with the first against Everton (Home) which will then signed the second international break of the season with two weeks of no club football. United will then face Leicester City (Away), Atalanta (Home), Liverpool (Home) and Spurs (Away) – hopefully ending the month in style, rather than more discontent. It will be a big month for United.

2 October – Everton, Old Trafford – Premier League

16 October – Leicester City, King Power Stadium – Premier League

20 October – Atalanta, Old Trafford – UEFA Champions League

24 October – Liverpool, Old Trafford – Premier League

30 October – Tottenham Hotspur, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Premier League

Written by John Walker

Has Manchester United’s goalkeeper dilemma of last season already fixed itself?

In the 2020/21 season a debate broke out in the footballing world over Manchester United’s goalkeeping position, and who should be the number one for the club moving forwards into the new season. David De Gea had solidified himself as a club legend, but his form had been consistently dropping since the World Cup of 2018. 

This meant that when Academy graduate goalkeeper Dean Henderson impressed in two consecutive loan moves to Sheffield United and was then called into the squad for the 2020/21 season, fans were anxious to find out whether this season would prove to be De Gea’s last as United number one. 

The 2020/21 season began with business as usual, De Gea was United’s goalkeeper for league games and Champions League games, while Henderson was between the sticks for FA Cup games and Carabao Cup games. Before the turn of the year De Gea played 13 Premier League games, keeping only four clean sheets

During this same period of time, Henderson played three Carabao Cup games, keeping clean sheets in all three, importantly two of these clean sheets came against Premier League opposition Brighton and Everton. During this period Henderson also played three Premier League games due to a minor injury to De Gea, while he kept a clean sheet in none, United did win all three of these games.   

Heading into the new year, De Gea maintained his spot as number one and had a better record, playing 14 games and keeping six clean sheets before needing to leave the country to be with his Wife for the birth of their first child, as was reported by the club

During this period, before the 3 March, Henderson played three games in the FA Cup keeping two clean sheets, with those clean sheets coming against Watford and West Ham. He also played one more game in the Carabao Cup against Manchester City, which United lost 2-0, and played two games in the Europa League against Real Sociedad, keeping a clean sheet in both legs.

Henderson’s chance came in the League when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer allowed David De Gea to be with his wife in Spain for the birth of his child, due to covid regulations, this meant that De Gea would be unavailable for an unknown period of time, Solskjaer stated‘Dean Henderson came in and played well and he’s ready. I’ll give David the time he needs of course’

The manager recognising that Henderson is ‘ready’ shows that during the season Henderson had done enough in the games he was given to show he is of Premier League standard. In the 10 games Henderson went on to play in the league, the youngster kept four clean sheets

When De Gea returned he was second choice, playing mostly in the Europa League which culminated with the Spaniard failing to save a penalty in the deciding penalty shootout in the final against Villareal, and ultimately missing the penalty that gave Villareal the victory, as was reported by BBC Sport. This showing in a final, which was United’s best hope of winning silverware since 2017, felt at the time like the last nail in the coffin of De Gea’s time as United’s number one.

However, after a disappointing Summer for Both Henderson and De Gea, with Henderson having to drop out of the England Squad for the Euros and De Gea being on the bench for all of Spain games, Henderson’s luck got worse, with the 24-year-old contracting Long Covid during the summer, keeping him out of action for the start of United’s season, as was reported by The Sunday Times

This gave De Gea a clear run of games in the League to prove once more why he was the four-time winner of the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award, as reported by Sky Sports News, and that he could find that form again. 

It is safe to say De Gea has had a great start to the season, showing form many fans haven’t seen in the keeper since the 2017/18 season. He made crucial saves in the win against Wolves and the draw against Southampton. His biggest redemption, however, came in the last minute of United’s 2-1 victory over West Ham in the league, with West Ham being awarded a penalty in the last minute to bring the game level, De Gea saved the penalty from Mark Noble

This moment was important for many reasons, but perhaps most crucially it felt like redemption for the penalty shoot-out in the Europa League Final, it was also the first time De Gea had saved a penalty in the League Since October of 2014.

With De Gea looking to be finding his old form and Henderson still unavailable for selection, it seems as though the debates of last season over who should be United’s number one have now been put to bed, with De Gea comfortably secure in that spot, at least for the foreseeable. 

Of course, this is just bad luck for Henderson, with the situation being taken out of his hands due to illness, but he has shown enough to United fans for them to know that when his time comes again, he can be the man to take over from the legendary David De Gea. 

Written by Jennifer McCord

David De Gea: A Necessary Resurgence?

Manchester United have had a fairly solid start to the league campaign this season, earning four victories and one draw in the opening five fixtures, the only defeat coming most recently against Aston Villa.

It’s fair to say a large amount of the strong early league form can be attributed to United’s long-term number one goalkeeper David De Gea, who seems to have had an upturn in form since his disappointing performance in the Europa League Final

The Spaniards missed kick in the Europa League Final penalty shootout almost looked to be a final nail in the coffin for De Gea, as his form had been declining for a few seasons while a new hungry challenger in the form of Dean Henderson had been emerging. However, it seems that the Goalkeeper has dusted himself off and returned much sharper so far in the new season.

De Gea, who was signed from Atletico Madrid for £18.9 million back in 2011, has made 448 appearances for the Red Devils since his difficult start to life at United all those years ago. When De Gea arrived, there were questions about his stature and whether he was able to deal with the intensity and physicality of the Premier League. It seemed these fears were coming to fruition, as the Spaniard struggled on multiple instances in his United careers infancy. 

Despite this, Sir Alex Ferguson’s faith was repaid as De Gea has gone on to become one of the most legendary Goalkeepers to ever play for United. His incredible performances across seasons past have been vital to so many United games, earning him the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award a record breaking four times.

Across all of his time at United, De Gea’s loyalty has never really come into question, aside from a feverish Real Madrid interest in the player, De Gea has remained committed both off and on the pitch.

All of this being said, one may struggle to see why De Gea wouldn’t automatically remain number one this season and for the foreseeable future, however performances from the Goalkeeper have not quite reached his high standards of years gone by. De Gea has struggled from 2018 onwards to be consistently top quality, having let in a few clangers and looking vulnerable from set pieces at times. 

In spite of this, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stuck by the shot stopper, frequently still citing him as the best goalkeeper in the world still. Under Solskjaer, De Gea has had moments of inspired form though, especially in a dominant Goalkeeping display against Tottenham in a 1-0 victory back in 2019 at Wembley, proving he can still reach the level he once was.

Over the course of the last five years De Gea has fought off challenges from the likes of Sergio Romero and Dean Henderson to retain his number one status, although it seemed that as of late the declining overall form and emergence of talented Henderson may finally jeopardise that. Henderson is a tremendous prospect at United, still only 24 years of age and possessing bags of ambition, he looks set to be the future of United’s goal. 

However, how fast that future arrives is up in the air, De Gea looks to have dramatically upped his game this season as a response to the challenging Henderson. The Englishmen has shone when replacing De Gea, so it seemed as though he may have started the season as number one, but a bout of Covid left the door open for the veteran Spaniard to retain his place with impressive performances so far this season.

De Gea has had some wonderful distribution at times this season and was the hero against Wolves with an incredible double save to ensure United left with all three points. Additionally, the stoppage time save of Mark Noble’s penalty against West Ham looks to have cemented De Gea’s return to form and established position as number one. 

Whether this form continues is up for debate, but the player has talked about taking more responsibility and becoming a leader of the team. Solskjaer was impressed with De Gea’s drive to return to United training early during the summer, and it looks like that determination and work may have paid off. 

It’s going to be a long season for United, with many games and several competitions to play in, so naturally rotation with Henderson will happen. One thing that is clear though is De Gea’s ambition to remain as number one, and it seems he may have had a necessary resurgence to not just achieve this, but United’s overall growing ambition to win major trophies.

Written by Sam Wilson

David de Gea and Dean Henderson – Summer 2021 plans?

The 2021 summer transfer window will be a crucial one for Manchester United for several reasons. One of the notable decisions to be made this summer is a decision regarding the goalkeeping situation. It was a strange decision to bring back Dean Henderson after his loan had expired at Sheffield United, as it was a rare case of two top goalkeepers being in the same squad at the same time. In the early parts of the season, the competition seemed to be helping Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea, as his form improved drastically when compared to the two seasons prior.

As of April 2nd, long-time United servant David de Gea has only registered one error leading to a goal in the Premier League this season, an improvement on seven errors leading to goals in the 2018/19 and the 2019/20 seasons. A large section of the United fanbase has grown impatient with de Gea since the 2018 World Cup when he made notable errors on the big stage. Dean Henderson on the other hand has had a meteoric rise, displaying impressive performances in his two seasons at Bramall Lane, becoming a fan favourite for the Sheffield United faithful.

Henderson is a great shot-stopper, and a very confident character, believing he has what it takes to make it to the very top with both Manchester United and the England national team. Henderson has been utilized mostly as a second-choice goalkeeper this season, racking up appearances across the cup competitions. Recently, with the birth of David de Gea’s first child, Henderson has been given a run of games to fill in for the absent de Gea. During the run of games Henderson has been given, the outlook from the fanbase has been mostly positive, as his commanding character has been impressive when in goal.

Though he has been questioned at times, for example, AC Milan’s late equalizer at Old Trafford in the Europa League, and his overall performance against Leicester City in the FA Cup quarter-finals, where he was expected to do better on several instances. Despite his errors, which are only natural as he is a young goalkeeper, Henderson has produced outstanding performances in a United shirt, most notably in the 2-0 Manchester Derby win, and also in United’s 1-0 round of 16 triumph in the Europa League versus AC Milan, where he produced a world-class save from a Zlatan Ibrahimovic header. 

At the moment, it is difficult to predict the future of Manchester United’s goalkeepers. As many fans do not believe in de Gea’s ability anymore, an option is to sell the Spaniard. This may be a strenuous option, as de Gea reportedly earns a wage in excess of 350 thousand pounds per week. With his evident decline and his monstrous wages, it is difficult to imagine a club coming in to sign him, and if United choose to do so, it will be a poor decision from an economic standpoint. A more sensible choice of action regarding this situation would be to sell Dean Henderson, with the inclusion of a buy-back clause in the deal.

This choice would benefit the club in many forms, mainly letting Henderson develop further, getting a good amount of game time, and being polished for the day that comes when de Gea inevitably leaves the club. David de Gea is far from finished at the top level and could provide another couple of years of solid goalkeeping at United, as evidence from the 2020-21 season suggests. Ultimately, it is United’s call on what to do with these fantastic goalkeepers, with many other unmentioned options that could either benefit the club or be a detriment to the club.

Written by Ashkan Shomeil

Blessed with two top Goalkeepers who should Manchester United go with next season? The master, David De Gea, or the apprentice, Dean Henderson?

Whilst the last few summers at Manchester United have been dominated by transfer speculation after transfer speculation after transfer speculation, the summer of 2020 had an interesting sub-plot. 

The return of Dean Henderson, on loan at Sheffield United last season, had many questioning whether David De Gea’s first team place was under serious threat, realistically, for the first time in his United career. After a few errors last season, there were a few murmurs that Sergio Romero should be given a chance. Whilst De Gea was struggling at Old Trafford, Dean Henderson was flourishing in his first Premier League season. After helping Sheffield United to promotion the season earlier, a second season on loan was agreed and it could arguably be seen as one of the transfers of the season. 

Sheffield United shocked everyone, finishing ninth and earning plaudits from everyone. Henderson himself, would earn his first England cap off the back of 13 clean sheets for the newly promoted side. As the season drew to a close, the obvious question arose. Who would be United’s number in the next season? Would it be Henderson or De Gea? As we have seen, so far it has been De Gea. United manager, Ole Gunner Solskjaer, has huge trust in his number one. He stood by him last season and De Gea hasn’t really let him down this season. Henderson has played a few cup games and the odd league game, but as we enter 2021, should Henderson be number one next season?

It is hard to use this season’s performances when Henderson has made far fewer appearances. In the games he has played he’s done what he’s needed to bar one big error. Ironically, it was against his former side, Sheffield United. Dallying on the ball, he was robbed of the ball in his own six-yard box costing his side the opening goal, however United would go onto win the game. He would play in the Carabao Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City as well as the most recent FA Cup win against Watford.

He also made his Champions League debut in the shocking 2-1 defeat in Istanbul. It is odd to think that whilst defeat in that game would be a catalyst for United exiting the competition, it will probably lead to more game time for Henderson, via the Europa League. Last season, Romero played most of the Europe League games and it would be a surprise if Henderson wasn’t given those game too, but as alluded too earlier you can’t really compare De Gea and Henderson based on this season.

So, what can we judge them on? As Henderson has only played one full season in the Premier League, last season would be a good place. Both goalkeepers managed 13 clean sheets each, although Henderson (33), conceded three less than De Gea. Expected goals conceded stats also show in Henderson’s favour. He conceded 5.2 goals less than he should have, De Gea only 2.2. The same stats show that Henderson was better at defending crosses then his teammate and that he made more passes then the Spaniard, showing that he is more comfortable playing out from the back. United, especially this season, have shown weaknesses defending crosses and the stats show that Henderson might be better dealing with them. Of course, not all crosses are defended by the goalkeeper, but that added protection is never a bad thing. 

What can’t be looked past is the position that Sheffield United now find themselves. Since losing Henderson, the Blades have nose-dived. Bottom of the table. Just two points in 17 games. 29 goals conceded. That’s just four goals less then Henderson conceded in 36 games last season. Of course, other issues have to be taken into consideration. They’ve only scored 8. They lost Jack Egan and have suffered plenty of other injuries throughout the season. John Lundstrum refusing to sign a new contract won’t have helped either, but losing Henderson was a huge blow.

Of course, if you’re judging Henderson’s impact since he’s left, you have to judge De Gea since Henderson has come in. United are sitting second in the league, level on points with Liverpool, with a game in hand. If Henderson has directly affected Sheffield United’s fortunes, then should we be looking at De Gea’s improved performances the same? Possibly, of course United’s good form began when Bruno Fernandes arrived last January, and it has continued since. De Gea has only kept four clean sheets in 14 games, so it’s hard to put the good form down to just his performances. 

Realistically, it’s going to be hard for Henderson to usurp De Gea for the number one jersey. As we entered this season, many believed that De Gea was a couple of big mistakes away from losing his place. We haven’t seen said mistakes. That is probably because Henderson is keeping him on his toes. United will have been delighted to have tied Henderson down on a long-term contract. It means they have time. It would be a surprise that he was still number two by the time that came to an end.

Most believe that Henderson is the future, however, he may have to be patient with cup games for the time being. It’s hard to drop your number one for the last ten years when you’re sitting joint top with a game in hand. However, the stats show that when Henderson does get his chance over a period of games, he’s unlikely to let anyone down. 

Written by Huw Rawlings

Dean Henderson will do whatever it takes to be Manchester United number one

Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson seems to be excited at the prospect of taking on David De Gea to become the clubs number one goalkeeper, according to the agent of the player. The 23-year-old has been on loan for every season so far at United playing in the National League, League Two, League One, the Championship and the Premier League, rising up a league every season – spending the last two at Sheffield United, earning a promotion to the Premier League and almost reaching Europe.

His performances for the Blades earned him an England call-up and has seen him involved with the squad during the UEFA Nations League matches against Iceland and Denmark, despite not playing any minutes of football in the two matches which saw England earn four points, beating Iceland 1-0 and drawing 0-0 with Denmark. Henderson was subject to lots of transfer speculation this summer, signing a new five-year contract at the club, with another year which could be added.

Henderson’s agent, David Lee, spoke to Sports Mole, regarding the player taking on De Gea, saying:

“I don’t think they’re offering him a five-year deal without thinking that he can.

“Obviously you’ve got a world-class goalkeeper as number one for Manchester United. He’s made a few mistakes, let’s be fair, but he’s still a top, top goalkeeper, still a world-class goalkeeper.

“Maybe Henderson coming in might make De Gea raise his game and there are two ways to look at it for Man United, but he’s got the potential to be Man United goalkeeper for sure.

“He’s another player who believes he should be playing for Man United right now, so it’s not going to faze him, he’ll just rise to that.

“There are some players that, when you think of them playing for a big club you worry about them – can they take that pressure every week? But Dean would have no problem with that, he’s a confident boy.

“He’s ready, he wants to push people. I’m sure they’re good friends in training and have a good working relationship but Dean will be focused on getting that number one spot that’s for sure and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it.”

During the 2019/20 season, Henderson made 40 appearances at the Blades, making 36 appearances in the Premier League, missing both matches against United as he was not eligible to play against how parent club. The 23-year-old conceded 37 goals, keeping 14 clean sheets – 13 of those in the Premier League. This showed his progress since leaving United, which he has done every season as he is yet to make is debut for the club, which might happen in the coming weeks with United set to face either Reading or Luton Town in the third round of the Carabao Cup.

De Gea has not been in the best of form over the past few years which has led to many speculation whether this was the end of the Spaniard’s time at the top in England. The 29-year-old made a total of 43 appearances for United in the 2019/20 season, conceding 44 goals and keeping 15 clean sheets – 13 of which were in the Premier League matching Henderson’s achievement in his debut season playing in England’s top flight. This challenge for the number one shirt could see both Henderson and De Gea raise their game with De Gea fighting to keep his place at the club.

Henderson will be subjected to much more scrutiny at United and every mistake made will be amplified by the media, which was not something that happened during his time at the Blades, so the England international will need to be ready for that. The fact that he is ready to challenge De Gea for the number one shirt at his age is enviable and he will face a fight to break into the first team regularly, taking the shot away from De Gea, which could follow with the decline of the Spaniard after nearly a decade at the Old Trafford club. It might not happen like that but it would be great for Henderson, and quite possibly England, if it did.

Written by John Walker

Rio Ferdinand gives opinion on David De Gea’s future after Dean Henderson’s return

Former Manchester United central defender Rio Ferdinand has backed David de Gea to rediscover his form at the Old Trafford club. Over the past year or so, there has been plenty of criticism of the Spanish number one with the player making a number of bad errors which has cost United dearly. With Dean Henderson coming back to the club this summer, having spent two seasons on loan at Sheffield United, a club where he helped win promotion to the Premier League and have a good debut season in the top flight of English football, has not helped De Gea’s case.

Ferdinand played alongside De Gea from 2011, when the player signed from Atletico Madrid, until he left United in the summer of 2014 for Queens Park Rangers before retiring at the end of the 2014/15 season, feels confident that De Gea can find his feet and regain his form once again. De Gea was once the player that kept United together post-Sir Alex Ferguson, winning the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award in four seasons out of five, which shows you how good the player can be. Speaking to TeamTALK and reported by The Mirror, Ferdinand said:

“De Gea has the ability to get back to where he was. He’s shown over the years that he is a class act. He can now have a break for a few weeks and come back with his focus renewed.

“He has the mentality to come back and reach his levels again. We’ve seen time and again how good he can be. I think he can still be a big player for United, but he has a point to prove again now. He has had tough times before and has come back.

“He’s a great goalkeeper and over the years he has been fantastic for United. He was player of the year four out of six years or whatever it was. But if you are not producing the goods over an extended period of time you have to be told and there has to be someone waiting in the wings to come in.”

Henderson’s return to Old Trafford in certain to cause a few headaches with the player having no intention of playing second fiddle to De Gea at the Theatre of Dreams but probably understanding that he will need to take on the Spaniard to win the number one shirt at the club, not just demand it and get what he wants. I don’t think Henderson is like that though and a lot of the speculation regarding the player seems to be based from what the media publish, which is not always fact, just mere speculation which might actually mean nothing.

The 23-year-old has been linked to Chelsea but is reportedly close to signing a new contract at United. During the past week, it has been suggested that Henderson would be loaned out this coming season, and that he would remain at United. It has also been stated that Sergio Romero has been linked to a number of clubs, including Chelsea and Leeds United, so there is clearly something happening somewhere at the club, which could pave the way for Henderson to take on De Gea this season in the battle to become the clubs next first choice goalkeeper.

It could certainly be an interesting season at United, especially with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggesting that he does not need three goalkeepers at the club, which would become four with Henderson returning this summer, meaning that two goalkeepers will be surplus to requirements with them likely to be both Romero and Lee Grant. United went through a period whereby they did not have a great goalkeeper from the time that Peter Schmeichel left the club after helping the club win the treble to the arrival of Edwin van der Sar, with De Gea replacing the latter at the club. If both De Gea and Henderson could work together and share the position, Henderson could be set up for the future at the club, with United and Solskjaer having De Gea to fall back on should Henderson falter at any stage.

Written by John Walker

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sticks by David De Gea with Dean Henderson being loaned out

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reportedly decided that Dean Henderson, 23, will be loaned out from the club for the 2020/21 season instead of being brought into the first team squad to take on David De Gea, who will keep his position as the number one goalkeeper at the club. Some might look at this and see that Solskjaer and United could be making a massive mistake as De Gea has not been at the top of his game for quite a while, which could be more of a problem moving forward.

However, similar could be said regarding Henderson, who has not yet slyer for United’s first team and has spent time on loan over the past five seasons, rising a league level each time and spending the last two seasons on loan with Sheffield United, winning promotion from the Championship and excelling in his first season in the Premier League. That does not mean that the player will end up being a success at United as he would be put under the microscope even more by the media and pundits.

Solskjaer will need to ensure that he has made the right decision and it might result in Henderson rejecting a new contract at the club. During the 2019/20 season, Henderson made a total of 40 appearances for the Blades, playing 36 times in the Premier League and four more times in the Emirates FA Cup. He conceded 37 goals; 33 in the Premier League and the remainder in the FA Cup, also keeping 14 clean sheets, 13 of which were in the Premier League. It was an impressive season from the rookie goalkeeper.

The Mirror has reported that Solskjaer wants to give De Gea another chance to find his form at the club, as looking back during his time at United, especially in the first five seasons after Sir Alex Ferguson retired, De Gea has been a player that has kept United moving at times, which is also why he has won the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year four times in five seasons; winning three of them in a row. Sergio Romero will continue to be the second choice goalkeeper at the club.

De Gea made a total of 43 appearances for United this season, playing all 38 Premier League matches plus one in the FA Cup, two in the Carabao Cup and two in the UEFA Europa League. He conceded 44 goals in total, 36 in the Premier League (conceding 54 in the league the previous season) with three conceded in each of the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup, conceding twice in the Europa League. De Gea also kept 15 clean sheets; 13 in the league and one in each of the Europa League and the Carabao Cup.

Henderson has been linked with Chelsea this summer with Frank Lampard’s side looking to purchase the player. This caused rumours that the 23-year-old would demand to be the number one goalkeeper at United for the 2020/21 season or he would leave the club. However, his current contract does not expire until the summer of 2022, meaning United will retain him for two more years. If a contract extension is not reached this summer, it might well see him not end up playing for United at all, which would be a shame.

Written by John Walker

David De Gea defends his position at Manchester United

Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has defended his position at the Old Trafford club after a season which has seen him make a number of high-profile mistakes, costing United at times. The 29-year-old has come under pressure this season, especially after his calamitous performance against Chelsea in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final, the second of three semi-finals in cup competitions this season that United lost in. On Sunday, De Gea replaced Sergio Romero against Sevilla.

The Argentinian goalkeeper has played in the last two UEFA Europa League matches at this stage of the season with United looking to win their first trophy under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. A 2-1 defeat stopped that from happening, meaning that Sevilla set up a final against Inter Milan after the Italian side beat Shakhtar Donekst 5-0 in the other semi-final in the competition. Speaking after United’s defeat to Sevilla on Sunday evening, De Gea was quoted by The Sun as saying:

“I trust in myself. I have shown my qualities all the years. So I will just stay available for the manager.

“I’m always ready to play and try to help the team, as I have always done.”

Dean Henderson, 23, has been tipped to replace De Gea at United this summer after his performances for Sheffield United whilst on loan at the club over the past two seasons, playing in the Champions and winning promotion to the Premier League, helping the side remain in the top flight of English football. Henderson wants assurances from Solskjaer over his future at the club or he will leave, whether on loan or permanently, which has been reported recently.

United may look back and see a poor season but despite the fact that it has not been brilliant, there are many positives to see at the club. There are critics for Solskjaer on social media, but with not of those critics having any experience or achievement in football, the criticism is agenda based which shows the pathetic nature of modern football so-called supporters. Continuing to speak about United’s result against Sevilla, De Gea was quoted as saying:

“We deserve to be in the final, if we are honest. But maybe we need a bit of experience, more experience on the team, but we have to score the chances. That was the point for us.”

Whilst there was improvement by United this season, conceding 54 goals in the Premier League during the 2018/19 season and finishing sixth, then last summer, signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire, to conceding just 36 goals and finishing third in the 2019/20 season. Of course, most of these so-called fans that demand better will not see the improvement, instead will look at the points total, which was 66 points in both seasons. However, the difference is clear to see, for those with common sense anyway.

United also came from 14 points behind Leicester to finish four points clear of them this season with Solskjaer even topping Frank Lampard, who has continually been praised by the English media having a much poorer record that United despite both teams being in a period of rebuilding. United’s record against the top six in the Premier League improved with the club doing the double over Manchester City, Chelsea and Leicester, winning once and drawing once with Tottenham Hotspur and drawing and losing against Liverpool, earning 23 points from a possible 30. Talking about the clubs improvement, De Gea said:

“I think we improved this season. We were 14 points behind the third position in the Premier League and we finished third at the end.

“I think we are playing very good football, attacking football.

“Let’s keep improving, let’s keep fighting for this club and let’s try to win trophies next season.”

Written by John Walker

David De Gea’s Manchester United future cast doubt upon by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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

copyright: JW