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Manchester United Goalkeeper Dean Henderson Giving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Selection Dilemma

Henderson Solskjaer

Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson returned to Old Trafford off the back of two loan spells at Sheffield United in the summer.

Henderson had every intention of becoming Manchester United number one, something he is proving himself very capable of doing in the games he has been afforded by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer so far.

Dean Henderson Gives Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Selection Headache

Admirable Trait

Henderson signed a new five-year deal in the summer, committing his long-term future to the club, showing no intention of conceding defeat to David de Gea, one of the club’s highest earners.

The goalkeeper, who also has his sights set on becoming England number one, has never been one to shy away from competition and has always possessed an incredible belief in his own ability – something he has portrayed across various loan spells in the Football League before reaching the top flight.

Solskjaer Belief in Henderson

Henderson has appeared in every competition for Manchester United this season – Carabao Cup, Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League and Europa League – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer clearly believes he has the talent to become United’s first-choice goalkeeper. However, dethroning David de Gea is proving difficult.

The 23-year-old goalkeeper can do no more than he has in his games this season. There is one error that comes to mind, v Sheffield United, the Red Devils were playing out from the back and Henderson horribly misjudged the situation, practically giving the opening goal away. However, Henderson did respond to that, as he has done throughout his career so far, making some important saves as Manchester United won 3-2 at Bramall Lane.

It would be wrong to hold that against the young keeper, especially when there is so much more evidence to suggest that he is ready.

Henderson has played 12 games for United this season, keeping seven clean sheets. Perhaps most impressive is the confidence he has portrayed on the field – especially highlighted when given the opportunity to face Liverpool and Manchester City in cup competition. He conceded twice on both occasions but his confidence shined through. Against Liverpool specifically, he was not afraid to come off his line and take responsibility if he felt it was needed, eye-opening for a young goalkeeper trying to take the number of one of football’s greatest goalkeepers – David de Gea.

De Gea Mistakes

Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea is one of the greatest in Premier League history, there is no arguing that. However, in recent years, he has started to make a number of mistakes – perhaps countless at this point. Whilst he still possesses the ability to keep United in games at times, it’s nowhere near to the consistency of old.

De Gea had thrived on United being on the back foot in previous years – allowing him to show off his incredible shot-stopping. It has though, reached a point, where, on occasion, he looks unsure and unconvincing.

Being one of the club’s highest earners and still putting in acceptable performances, makes life difficult for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Henderson looks ready, but is young and can wait for a little longer. Keeping things as they are is an easy decision, but if Solskjaer wants to be decisive, he may have to make the switch sooner rather than later.

Henderson’s Alert Performance v Real Sociedad

Having started v La Liga side Real Sociedad on Thursday evening, Henderson put in a strong, alert performance. There was a moment in the game where David Silva hooked his left foot at the ball – completely mishitting it. The ball looped in the air, initially looking hopeless, but as it flung towards Henderson, he took no chances and came out to punch it clear. It felt fresh for United – which perhaps highlights an issue with De Gea. Henderson provides a certain level of assurance and confidence in his own decision-making – De Gea has lacked this in recent years.

At his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s game against Newcastle United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told reporters: “Of course Dean is in with a shout. We pick a team on Saturday and Dean was very solid, good kicking and he could or should have had an assist with Marcus (Rashford), which is another thing we worked on.

“He was clean in his handling, clean in his short passes and it was a good performance.”

Solskjaer was also keen to make a point of one of De Gea’s better performances of late: “He (Henderson) is maturing all the time but I have a very good goalkeeper in David. He saved us against West Brom(wich Albion) so I can’t say to you now.

“I always speak to the players first before I say who’s playing and they will know,” Ole concluded.

It feels more like when and not if for Dean Henderson, it will certainly be an interesting situation to follow.


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