As Manchester United dropped further behind in the title race following another poor home result, it has resurrected a discussion from the start of the season.
The Reds gave up a 2-0 and 3-1 lead at Old Trafford to draw with Everton over the weekend, with errors from David De Gea and Harry Maguire called out as the reasons for the result.
Abdoulaye Doucoure’s goal came as Dominic Calvert-Lewin raced clear of Maguire and then poked an effort across goal. Instead of catching the ball, De Gea slapped the ball straight into the path of the former Watford man and momentum swung in the Toffees favour.
Then in the 95th minute, a free-kick was floated in by Lucas Digne and Maguire decided to play everyone onside. The ball bounced through to Calvert-Lewin and with De Gea glued to his line he was able to poke the ball into the Old Trafford net.
The Spaniard conceded three goals as Everton had just three shots on target, to follow on from his error against Sheffield United in the recent defeat too.
De Gea’s season started relatively well, despite some dodgy results for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men. Most of the goals conceded didn’t really give him much of a chance of saving them, but some games caused some concern.
The Spaniard has slowly been declining for the past three years from his insanely high level before that. His reflexes are not what they once were, his command of his box hasn’t improved since he first signed for the club and his distribution seems to make those around him panic more than it settles them.
While Dean Henderson has had his own problems in games this season, his potential is clear to see. His performances last season for Sheffield United played a huge part in their fantastic debut season in the Premier League, as you can see from their league standing currently without him.
The truth is that nobody knows right now if Henderson is good enough to be United’s long-term number one. We don’t even know if he is definitely better than De Gea. But the facts are that we do know that De Gea is no longer good enough to be first choice at Old Trafford.
Solskjaer may need to make a decision on using Henderson between now and the end of the campaign to decipher whether or not he is ready going forward. He signed a new deal in the summer to compete, so let him compete. Depending on his performances, a new goalkeeper could be needed in the summer.
With AC Milan’s young goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma’s contract expiring at the end of the season, the Reds could do a lot worse than keeping an eye on his situation and looking to bring him in on a free transfer should it be determined an upgrade is required.
We saw Henderson perform to a consistently high standard for Sheffield United, a more consistent run in the team with better defenders in a team where he should theoretically have less to do will likely lead to better performances.
He deserves his chance of a run in the team now, with De Gea’s form proving costly to the teams ambitions of a title run. He’s not the sole reason and nobody is stating he is, but the fact is that right now the easiest change to a struggling defence is to change the goalkeeper because the gap in quality and reliability between them isn’t that big.
Henderson’s chance to shine and stake his claim is now, it’s just whether Solskjaer will make the big call or not.