Manchester United’s promising young goalkeeper Dean Henderson should be the club’s number one in the long-term amid David de Gea’s struggles.
That’s the view of former Red Devils midfielder Luke Chadwick, who believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still likely to stick with De Gea as his number one for the time being, and most likely until the end of the season.
From there, however, Henderson could be in contention as Chadwick admits De Gea has had a tough couple of years in the United goal, even though overall he’s had a hugely positive contribution in his time at Old Trafford.
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“He’s had a tough couple of seasons, De Gea, in terms of the mistakes he’s made,” Chadwick told CaughtOffside. “Before that he was player of the year for a few seasons running. His overall contribution to United has been very good in what has been a barren spell in terms of trophies won.
“Obviously Henderson’s form for Sheffield United last year was brilliant and he’s been breathing down De Gea’s neck. I think De Gea’s form since he’s come back into the team has been very good, but he’ll certainly be disappointed with the first and third goal (against Everton) when he came out without the authority to win the ball and quite a weak parry that set up the first Everton goal.
“It’s a tough decision for Ole to make because Henderson’s obviously an incredibly talented young ‘keeper but has also made mistakes at time when we’ve given him opportunities in goal.
“You imagine Henderson will be the number one, long term, but what De Gea’s done for the club in his time here has been very good. I think Ole will keep faith with De Gea for the time being until the end of the season but the telling time will come in the summer whether De Gea moves on, or who the manager decides to be number one going into next season.”
Overall, it’s been a frustrating few games for Man Utd, whose inconsistency now looks to have seen them drop out of the title race as Manchester City now take a commanding lead at the top of the table.
Chadwick was frustrated to see the 9-0 win over Southampton followed up with the 3-3 draw against Everton, and concedes that’s probably now settled the title race.
“It has been a really up and down couple of weeks,” he said. “Obviously the nine goals against Southampton was a feat to achieve, it was helped with a crazy sending off in the early minutes, but United played well, took their chances and it looked like they were back on track after a tough week the week before.
“But then the Everton game – they looked good going forward, creating chances, but not as strong defensively. I think Ancelotti’s shape hurt United out of possession in terms of the full-backs not having anyone to pick up, leaving that space in the channels.
“I think they were quite passive in the first half, United dominated a bit, but then Everton came to the fore in the second period. It was disappointing to say the least … when McTominay scored you thought surely ‘that’s it now’, but a terrible goal to concede with the last kick of the game.
“And it’s probably cost the title now after City’s win at Anfield. Five points clear with a game in hand, it’s going to be really tough to catch them now.”