Former Red Devil Chris Turner believes that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s next team selection will be make-or-break for David de Gea.
Turner, who kept goal for United between 1985 and 1988, thinks that Solskjaer has to choose between De Gea and Academy graduate Dean Henderson at the end of the season, with neither likely to accept being the backup to the other next term.
‘Henderson looks like he could be United’s keeper for the next 10 years,’ Turner told The Mirror.
‘I’m not sure when the shift will come, but if Dean keeps his place against Brighton after the international break the writing will be on the wall for De Gea.
‘Let’s be clear, though, De Gea has done nothing wrong. He is still a world-class keeper and has proved himself time and again.
‘You can’t just dismiss what he has given United in the last ten years. But he’s not had any real competition in that time. When you know you’re going to be playing week in week out your standards can slip.
‘All of a sudden Dean has emerged as a genuine threat and is proving himself a capable keeper who will only get better with more experience.
‘There’s no way De Gea will want to play second fiddle to a younger keeper so maybe he’ll look to move back to Spain in the next 12 months.
‘I still think he’ll want to force his way back in, but this is where Solskjaer’s man management will be vital.
‘Years ago I remember Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence sharing the England shirt, but you can’t keep chopping and changing at club level.’
It is a difficult decision for Solskjaer. De Gea is capable of making saves that few, if any other goalkeepers in the world can make, but he is also error prone, quiet and rarely comes off his line. Henderson does not have that raw shot-stopping talent but is steady, vocal and commands his box in a way that is not in the Spaniard’s make-up.
If Turner is right, the next selection against Brighton could be crucial. If De Gea is selected, the competition is still on, but if Henderson is selected, it really could spell curtains for the Spaniard’s career at Manchester United.