|Image from The Sun|
For almost a decade now, David De Gea has been a titan between the sticks at Old Trafford, a presence to strike fear in any striker coming up against him. He has stuck by United through all of our trials and tribulations, discounting the almost signing for Madrid which he never once complained about publicly, and was for a couple of years our only true world class player.
However, in the last year or so, he has made some rather high-profile mistakes, sometimes leading to United dropping points, which has led some people to suddenly question his position as the undisputed number one. Combine these mistakes with the rise of Dean Henderson at Sheffield United, as well as with the talent of Sergio Romero, probably one of the best backup keepers in the world, and some have begun calling for his head.
So far this season, while he has made those aforementioned mistakes, De Gea is doing an absolutely superb job for United. He has most certainly played his part in tightening up the defence, supported by those in front of him, managing to keep United’s goals conceded to the 4thleast in the league.
In addition to that, if you take a look at the statistics for saves made this season, he is one of the league leaders, which is even better when you consider that Allisson and Lloris have played much less games than he has. Therefore, it can be argued that De Gea has actually been the second-best keeper in the league this season, far flung from someone who should be replaced. As one of our other writers, Suraj, concluded earlier last month.
So who could United look to as a replacement for Dave, should they go down that route? Well, firstly they could look to the bench at Sergio Romero, who has always been a solid replacement when he has had to step in. In addition, he was also a regular in an Argentina shirt until 2017, meaning he has bags of experience, even if age is not on his side. So far, he has made 14 appearances in a United shirt, keeping 11 clean sheets in the process, a spectacular return on paper.
On the other hand, they could go with the aforementioned Dean Henderson, who has been electrifying at Sheffield United, letting in only 22 goals (Simon Moore was in goal against United, when they let in 3) in 27 games. Henderson has been the main reason that De Gea has faced calls demanding he give up his place, since he seems like a genuine contender, gaining experience in the Premier League, whilst not costing the club anything should they want to recall him.
Overall, De Gea has given United almost a decade of service and deserves to retain his place. Although the stats don’t speak for everything and should only be used as a guideline, they do make a strong argument for the impact he has had, which is a positive one overall. Not only does he make those standing in front of him feel safer, he still has the backing of the majority of fans, who exude confidence when they see him standing between the sticks.
Although a case could also be made to bring Henderson back from Sheffield United next season, he does still only have one season of Premier League experience under his belt and has yet to play in Europe. For that reason, it is definitely the better option to send him back for another year, as The Blades are almost certain to be playing in European competition next season and will definitely want to keep him there. That would also give Dave another season to prove why he deserves the number one shirt at Old Trafford, whilst still retaining the option of cultivating the talents of Henderson once he has some more game time in him. The end of next season, however, will certainly be an interesting time for those watching the race to be Manchester United’s number one….