Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Is David de Gea’s time at Manchester United coming to an end?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 24 Jun 2020

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Coming under scathing scrutiny from Roy Keane for his hand in Tottenham’s opener last week, David de Gea has marked his return from the enforced break with more questions surrounding his spot between the sticks at Old Trafford.

Allowing Steven Bergwijn’s simple strike to go through his hands, the 29-year-old has seen his reputation come crumbling down after what has been a worrying campaign for the Red Devils.

Although some may have previously mentioned the Spanish shot-stopper in the argument for the Premier League’s greatest ever keeper, could De Gea’s time in Manchester be drawing to a close with a whimper?

A drastic drop in class

Although almost the whole of Old Trafford were ecstatic to see De Gea finally put pen to paper on a new deal back in September, few would have expected such a monumental fall for the once-feared Spanish keeper.

While the former Atletico Madrid shot-stopper may have enjoyed a glittering career in the red half of Manchester, he has suddenly found himself as a growing liability for what can already be a fragile United defence.

Watching Bergwijn’s relatively tame effort squirm through his hands, that is only one howler in what is quickly becoming a real habit for the former Premier League winner.

With clangers against Everton and Watford earlier in the season really highlighting a drop in class from the keeper who appeared on the verge of joining Real Madrid back in 2015, his latest mistake also saw him join the top of an unwanted Premier League record.

With seven mistakes directly leading to a goal against United since the start of the 2018/2019 campaign, De Gea joins Martin Dubravka and Jordan Pickford who both have identical records of seven errors in 67 games, while Bernd Leno has the same number in 61 appearances.

Showing signs of that nervous 20-year-old who first joined up with Sir Alex Ferguson’s United back in 2011, the Spaniards shakey form has clearly started to radiate through his defensive unit.

Along with former captain Roy Keane branding De Gea as “the most overrated Manchester United goalkeeper”, new skipper Harry Maguire saw his performance on Friday come under real scrutiny.

Ahead of a real top-four chase at the back end of the season, some of the more vocal sections around Old Trafford are even calling for back-up keeper Romero to take over between the sticks.

Henderson waiting in the wings

While one Manchester United goalkeeper might find his stock at an all-time low, another Red has only continued to gain a long list of admirers without even making a senior appearance at Old Trafford.

Playing a crucial role in what has been a fairy tale Premier League return for Sheffield United, Dean Henderson is showing that he is rich in potential after two stunning years under Chris Wilder.

Only going from strength to strength in his maiden top-flight campaign, the 23-year-old has recorded 11 Premier League clean sheets so far this season, the best record of any keeper in the division.

Given his growing reputation, it is no surprise that United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been praising his loanee from afar.

Speaking to Sky Sports last week, the Norweigan tactician said that Henderson has not only “proved” he will be the Red Devil’s next number one, but also England’s first-choice shot-stopper.

With Jordan Pickford’s performances prior to the break also raising plenty of questions at Goodison, most believe that it is only a matter of time before the Blades’ temporary talisman gets given his chance in Gareth Southgate’s side.

While there is no doubt that the European chasers would snap up another season neutering Henderson, Solskjaer has made it clear that the Bramall Lane favourite is at the front of his thinking.

With it also being rumored that Henderson’s continued performances have attracted a potential move from Premier League rivals Chelsea, United could be quick to promote the youngster in an attempt to warn off any interest.

With De Gea turning 30 at the end of the year and his new deal rumored to see him earn roughly £375,000-per-week, could United be looking to cash in on their former MVP this summer?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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