Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was this evening drawn on the goalkeeping dilemma soon set to be on his hands, as Dean Henderson prepares to return to Old Trafford.
Highly-regarded shot-stopper Henderson is a product of the Red Devils’ youth academy, but has spent the last 2 years plying his trade with Sheffield United.
And, after playing a key role in the Blades’ return to the Premier League in 2018/19, the 23-year-old’s stock continued to rise this past season.
As Chris Wilder’s men defied the odds in battling it out for a European berth throughout much of the campaign, Henderson conceded just 33 goals across 36 appearances.
His importance to Sheffield United’s success was only further highlighted by the fact that the Blades conceded 6 goals over the course of the 2 Premier League fixtures for which he was absent.
Sheffield United’s English goalkeeper Dean Henderson reacts during the English Premier League football match between Sheffield United and Liverpool at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, northern England on September 28, 2019. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)
‘It’s a nice problem’
The end of the campaign, though, will see Henderson’s future thrown up in the air, after his loan deal at Bramall Lane expires.
With David de Gea having long stood as the undisputed no.1 at Old Trafford, and Argentinian international Sergio Romero a reliable backup, Manchester United have a goalkeeping dilemma on their hands.
Recent reports, meanwhile, have hinted that the Sheffield United loanee himself will only sanction a permanent return to Manchester in the case that he is guaranteed the no. 1 jersey by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
As such, speaking in a press conference earlier today, the United boss was drawn on the goalkeeping situation at the club, with Solskjaer having explained:
‘I think I must be the most privileged manager in the world with the goalkeeping department I have with Sergio, David and weve got Dean Henderson coming back too.’
The Norwegian was also questioned on whether Sergio Romero is set to keep his place between the posts for the remainder of his side’s Europa League campaign, or if David de Gea could instead be handed the chance to rebuild his confidence, on the back of a difficult season.
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 19: David De Gea of Manchester United reacts during the FA Cup Semi Final match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on July 19, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Andy Rain/Pool via Getty Images)
Solskjaer, however, was keen to keep his cards close to his chest:
‘We have three top, top keepers. This season has shown how important Sergio has been for us and for me David is always performing, so we shall see what we do for the rest of the season and going forward. It is a difficult decision, yeah. But its a nice problem to have.’
Finally, when pressed further on the future of Dean Henderson, Solskjaer concluded:
‘I think its as you say: competition for places is important. We are looking to have competition for places. We have Dean, Sergio, David in the ranks.’
‘Lee [Grant], the fantastic professional that he is, is backing them up. It will be difficult to keep three of them at the club, so we will see what the decision will be there.’
Quotes via Goal