The Manchester United manager was asked at the pre-match press conference ahead of today’s game against West Brom whether there was pressure to pick De Gea, who made two errors last time out against Everton, because of his £375,000 per week contract.
‘I think the whole squad knows, everyone knows that they have to perform to be in the team,’ the boss said.
‘We have I would say at least two players in every position that would say “I’m first choice”. And the keeper position is no different.
‘So, I’m a very fortunate position to have the goalkeeper department I do have and it was a conscious decision to bring Dean back to have real, real competition in that position as well.
‘Deano has made it harder and harder for me to leave him out because whenever he plays he does really well.
‘So it’s about what you give to the team, here and now, whether you’re a left back, right back, left wing, right wing.’
Later in the conference, Solskjaer was asked how he can go about keeping both keepers happy in the long term.
‘It’s not my job to keep any players happy. It’s not like I’m going round telling jokes and giving them games just to keep them happy.
‘We’re here to win and it’s about the best possible chance to win, so we need performances. It’s their job to keep me happy and to give me more and more reasons to pick them.’
The comments do not, of course say for sure that Henderson is poised to get his chance but there is a definite shift from previous press conferences, when Solskjaer continued to insist that De Gea is the best keeper in the world. In this one, his focus was on Henderson’s abilities, which is an encouraging sign for the 23-year-old.
The French Connection: How much do you know about the French players who have helped Manchester United to glory over the years? Take our quiz below to find out!