Manchester United would’ve hardly foreseen a dilemma surrounding their goalkeeper a few years back when David De Gea was pulling off astonishing saves on a regular basis and almost felt unbeatable. Although, ever since the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the Spaniard has looked a shadow of himself and has been prone to making costly errors thereafter. The moment since Cristiano Ronaldo’s weak shot found a way through his legs into the back of the net during Spain’s opening game in the tournament, he looked a dejected figure with low self-confidence. Going into the tournament on the back of a strong season with the red devils where he won the Golden Glove, few would’ve thought it was the start of a massive decline of the keeper. De Gea finished the World Cup campaign as one of the worst keepers in the tournament and Spain crashed out in the pre-quarter phase.

Soon his poor form came to haunt him again in the colours of Manchester United during the 2018-19 campaign. He conceded 50 goals in the league which was 22 more than the previous season. He managed to keep just 7 clean sheets while also committing 2 errors which led to the goal. His mistakes in crucial games hindered United’s progression in the Champions League and also meant the club missed out on a top 4 finish in the league. However, the club decided to stick with their man and offered him a mega-contract in the following summer which made him the highest-paid player at the club.

The 2019-20 campaign has been a little indifferent in terms of his performances. Although with a much steady defence in front of him this time, he managed to keep 13 clean sheets in the league and conceded 14 goals less than the previous campaign. Still, errors kept creeping into his game at crucial moments which infuriated many fans. He pulled off a few great saves at times, but he could hardly manage to do it on a consistent basis. His ability on the ball was questioned by many as he looked far less comfortable with the ball at his feet. His distributions were rather wayward and most often gifted the ball to the opposition.

Meanwhile, on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson has been grabbing the headlines by putting up some outstanding performances for the newly-promoted Sheffield United. His performances for the Blades saw him nominated for the Young Player of the Year Award for the Premier League season while also winning Sheffield’s Young Player of the Year Award. The Englishman also managed to keep 13 clean sheets as De Gea while playing 2 games fewer. Henderson’s amazing performances in the league has sparked a huge debate as to who should be Manchester United’s number 1 next season.

Dean Henderson Vs De Gea: The Statistics

  • Henderson has committed fewer errors than the Spanian during the course of the season. He has had 1 error which directly led to goal while De Gea had 3 in the league this season. De Gea was also at fault for the opening two goals against Chelsea in the FA Cup Semi-Final.
  • The 23-year-old is far more comfortable on the ball unlike De Gea and gives nearly 26 passes per game while De Gea manages only about 20. He has made 934 passes in total while De Gea could manage only about 786 despite having played 2 games more.
  • He is way superior to De Gea when it comes to long balls with Dean having delivered a staggering 265 accurate long balls during the last campaign while De Gea could only manage a mere 96.
  • The Englishman has also edged De Gea in the number of saves with 97 while De Gea managed 96 with 180 minutes less under his belt.

CONCLUSION

David De Gea has been one of the best goalkeepers in the world up until 2018 and has saved Manchester United on a number of occasions. But his dip in form from the last 2 years has been clearly visible. Errors have become common to his game and he seems to be a man with low confidence. His errors have started to become more costly to the team that is in the stage of a transition.  Although, in Henderson is a player brimming with self-confidence and whose dream has always been to become the number 1 goalkeeper for his boyhood club Manchester United. His ability on the ball suits United’s style of building from the back and his accurate long balls definitely add a new dimension to the game, something which is not capable from De Gea. With his eye-catching performances this season, he has a very fair shout to fulfill his dream by dethroning the Spanian. De Gea being the highest earner at the club could also have an influence on who might be wearing the number 1 jersey next season as the club would be more than happy to free up his massive wages. However, it could be a year too soon for young Henderson as he would be exposed to the huge pressure of playing for Manchester United, unlike Sheffield. Thus, it could be too much to ask from a youngster who has only a year of Premier League experience under his belt.  At just 23, he still has the time to afford a loan stint at one of the better clubs and return to United as a more complete and experienced goalkeeper. Thus a loan move would be ideal for all parties which also allows a final chance for De Gea to prove his worth to the club.

featured image credit sky sports