Manchester United’s ongoing goalkeeper battle could finally come to an end in the most important fixture of the season as the side’s next task is to face Villarreal in the Europa League final.
Dean Henderson and David de Gea have been rotating that number one spot throughout the last half of the season with each player taking the gloves close to at least once a week. But The MEN reports that it is the Spaniard who will be trusted for tonight’s game.
‘De Gea has provisionally got the nod ahead of Dean Henderson, having started the last four Europa League ties against Granada and Roma,’ the outlet claims.
‘De Gea performed exceptionally in United’s 3-2 semi-final second leg defeat to Roma, when he made 10 saves to prevent an improbable comeback.’
Both goalkeepers have played four games each of the Europa League this season, so there hasn’t been a clear starter in that competition.
When asked at a recent press conference why De Gea was no longer selected in the Premier League, Solskjaer was quick to correct the reporter.
“Did he not play against Leicester?” Solskjaer said (via the Manchester Evening News). “I think you’re wrong there?”
“I’ve got two very good goalkeepers. They’ve played in the last month and last six weeks more or less alternate games really. Both are ready and both are doing well.”
“The Leicester game, even though it didn’t feel like a Premier League game crammed in on a Tuesday, he (De Gea) still played that one.”
De Gea, who is on a £375,000-a-week deal, is currently the highest earner at the Red Devils this season and there has been no clear roadmap to his departure from the Old Trafford club.
There have however been rumours recently about Henderson moving away from the club on a permanent transfer. The England man clearly wants that number 1 spot at both his club and internationally and will not be prepared to play second fiddle for a second consecutive season.
The MEN also quotes Solskjaer as mentioning the fact that the Spaniard had to leave the club for a short period while his wife gave birth to his baby.
“It’s been a strange season in that respect with regards to goalkeeping. At United most of the time we’ve had a No. 1 who has been playing most of the time,” said Solskjaer.
“We brought Dean back to challenge David and he’s had a very good season. David flew home for the birth of his baby which gave Dean a longer run in the team and he really played well and established himself as a very good goalkeeper. He’s learnt a lot from it.”
Does this hint at one of the two goalkeepers leaving the club this summer? United fans will be hoping for more clarity on the situation after tonight’s match is out of the way and the transfer window prepares to open.