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Manchester United are well stocked in the goalkeeping department

by Sam Peoples

De Gea may be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s first-choice goalkeeper once again this season, but if the Spaniard opts to leave for pastures new next summer, United already have a couple of young stoppers who should be able to step up and fill that void. Both Henderson and Kieran O’Hara will spend the 2019-2020 campaign out on loan at Sheffield United and Burton Albion respectively, but their futures appear to be bright, and it may not be long until they become regular names on the team-sheet at Old Trafford.

Following the sale of Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan at the end of August, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer bemoaned the fact that his squad remains short of firepower this season, however, at the other end of the pitch, there is plenty of competition.

Lee Grant’s spell at the club is highly likely to come to an end when his contract expires next summer, and although Romero still has a couple of years left on his current deal, he may favour a return to Italy in the next twelve months. The 32-year old hasn’t played a Premier League game since May 2018, but featured in all four of Manchester United’s FA Cup matches last season. The Argentine stopper kept two clean sheets during the club’s run to the quarter-finals and is likely to get his opportunity, once again, in the competition at the beginning of 2020. The Red Devils are joint-fourth favourites in the FA Cup betting market and are available at 9/1 to pick up some much-needed silverware this season.

Some supporters were disappointed to see Henderson be sent out on loan this season, but a year of Premier League experience at Bramall Lane will surely benefit the 22-year old in the long run. He kept 21 clean sheets during Sheffield United’s promotion-winning season, earning him both the Championship Golden Glove and a number of admirers along the way. It will be a testing time in the top flight for the Whitehaven-born keeper, but it could be the ideal preparation ahead of his return to Old Trafford next season.

Kieran O’Hara sits behind Henderson in the pecking order at United, but he’s just received his first call-up to the Republic of Ireland squad and has received plenty of plaudits for his displays at both Macclesfield and Burton Albion. The youngster helped the Silkmen avoid relegation last season, keeping eight clean sheets in 37 appearances, and making a string of eye-catching saves throughout the campaign. He also cleaned up at the end-of-season awards, taking home three trophies owing to his significant role in helping the struggling Cheshire club preserve their EFL status. He’s made the step up to League One seamlessly and has already helped the Brewers keep two shutouts this season. Although he made a costly blunder against Gillingham at the beginning of August, he was given the backing of his manager Nigel Clough and that will surely help his confidence going forward.

Manchester United may need to splurge in January in order to bolster their squad, and if Solskjaer is given sufficient funds to strengthen, he almost certainly won’t need to worry about the goalkeeping department. With both Henderson and Kieran O’Hara developing quickly and earning rave reviews during their recent loan spells, it surely won’t be long before this talented duo are fighting it out for the coveted number one spot at Old Trafford.

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