Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson has reportedly demanded the No 1 role if he’s to sign a new contract. According to the Manchester Evening News, the shot-stopper wants guaranteed game time if he’s to commit his future to the club. And now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s next move should be obvious: pick Henderson, drop David De Gea.
Manchester United have had De Gea on their books since 2011, when he joined from Atletico Madrid during Sir Alex Ferguson’s spell in charge.
He took a while to find his feet in English football, initially struggling to fill the void left behind by Edwin van der Sar’s retirement.
But in the years since, De Gea has proven himself to be one of the best goalkeepers on the entire planet.
He helped United win the Premier League title in 2013, ensuring Ferguson bow out on a high after 27 years of glittering service.
De Gea also played a vital role as the Red Devils won the FA Cup under Louis van Gaal in 2016, months after he’d wanted to leave for Real Madrid.
And he was consistent for United under Jose Mourinho, too, propelling the club to EFL Cup glory in 2017.
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Before Friday’s clash with Tottenham,, the veteran had made mistakes against the likes of Arsenal, Watford and Everton.
And while United are likely to place faith in De Gea for the short term, they can’t afford to do the same in the long run.
Because, if they do, they’re at risk of losing Henderson.
The 23-year-old wants the No 1 role at Old Trafford and has told the club that, unless he’s guaranteed it, he won’t sign a new contract.
And United can’t afford to lose him.
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For years, they struggled in the goalkeeping department. It’s the toughest area to crack because, unless you have a top performer in between the sticks, the rest of the side struggles.
Peter Schmeichel wasn’t easy to replace and it would take years of suffering, until Van der Sar touched down, for United to finally struck gold.
In Henderson, they already have the ideal De Gea successor.
And they can’t afford to let him go.
United need to give him what he wants. If not they run the risk of losing him. De Gea has delivered over the years – but he’s past his best.
And football is about evolution, rather than looking back to the past.
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