David de Gea is embarking on his 10th season at Manchester United and it will no doubt be the biggest of his career.
The Spaniard has been exceptional for the Reds since joining from Atletico Madrid in 2011. For a large part of the last decade, he has been the best goalkeeper in the world by some distance.
There were signs last season though, that de Gea’s level had dropped. He made a number of unforced errors that are likely to concern Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s going into the latest campaign.
As all good managers do, Solskjær backed his goalkeeper publicly following those unexpected mistakes. Behind closed doors, however, the United boss will know there is competition for the number one jersey this season with Dean Henderson back at the club.
The early stages of the new season are likely to dictate who will play the majority of the matches in goal. De Gea needs to get off to a solid start and avoid big errors. Solskjær won’t be expecting a Man of the Match performance every game from the Spaniard, but the mistakes, like those we saw in the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea back in July, have to be cut out.
With Champions League football back this season at Old Trafford and the usual two cup competitions, there will be a lot of action for United to contend with. It is, therefore, a big positive for Solskjær that he has a lot of quality and depth in his goalkeeping ranks.
United will be aiming to challenge for the title this season. They are currently 10/1, if you bet on football at Space Casino, to finish top of the Premier League at the end of the campaign. Even if that is not possible, the minimum expectation will be to close the gap on Liverpool and Manchester City. Keeping as many clean sheets as they can, will help them improve on last season’s tally.
Henderson Returns on The Back of An Impressive Campaign
Dean Henderson has been a Manchester United player since 2015 but he is yet to start a competitive game for the Reds. This is likely to change this season now that he has returned to Old Trafford on the back of an eye-catching campaign at Sheffield United.
Solskjær and United are sure to see Henderson as their future number one. How quickly he gets there will depend on the form of De Gea, who is getting no younger.
Henderson kept 13 clean sheets last season for the Blades in the Premier League. He played a huge role in their successful campaign which saw them finish in the top half of the standings.
Not only is Henderson now putting himself in contention at United; he is also knocking on the door with England. He will be desperate to play as much football as he can this season in order to impress the Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate ahead of the European Championship in 2021.
For now, it looks like Henderson will have to remain patient, but he is sure to be ready to pounce at the opportunity if De Gea continues to decline.