He was a tough competitor in his pomp and Paul Ince knew if he or his Man United colleagues didn’t attain certain standards each and every week, they’d be out of the side.
The former midfielder doesn’t see any of that applying to David de Gea, despite another high-profile error, this time in the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea.
Once lauded as the best keeper in the world, the Spaniard is far, far from that at the moment.
In the biggest games recently he has often been found wanting, and Ince believes it’s time to give others a chance
“Any mistake you make, as a goalkeeper, will always be magnified. We know that, but what we’re seeing from David De Gea at the minute are basic, schoolboy errors,” Ince was quoted as saying by the Daily Star.
“They are errors that someone on his wage and at his level simply should not be making – and not for the first time, too.
“If you go and look at the season, there’s several absolutely horrendous mistakes that just shouldn’t be happening.
“In those big games, the best keepers in the world aren’t making mistakes to begin with and my feeling is that De Gea doesn’t have enough, or any, competition. He is totally complacent.
“Sergio Romero only plays once in a blue moon (at United), but Dean Henderson is waiting in the wings, and the manager needs to create a bit of a challenge and competition at the club.
“Right now, De Gea knows there’s no challenger to him, that he will be the first name on the team sheet, and he’s playing like someone who knows that, too. As a player, if you think you’re going to play every game, it leads to complacency.
“For me, Dean Henderson would be the answer. He’s playing well, getting game time and it’s something which Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to look at.
“He needs to give De Gea that challenge and drive, and this lad could be the answer. Henderson’s got the hunger and desire to get into that top spot at United.
“While maybe it’s a case of De Gea signing the massive contract he did and he thinks his job is done – he’s lost a bit of that hunger. He needs to come out now, fighting, and show us what an incredible keeper we all know he is.”
The issue for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is that no other club are going to take him off of United’s hands on his current salary.
Perhaps in handing him the riches he so desired, it’s afforded him the opportunity of taking his foot off of the pedal.
However, if Solskjaer is worth his salt as a manager, then he’ll nip that in the bud straight away.