Henderson or De Gea: Who should Manchester United stick with in goal?

Dean Henderson. Sheffield United (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
Dean Henderson. Sheffield United (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images) /

Despite being on loan at Sheffield, Dean Henderson has been outperforming Manchester United’s #1 David de Gea this season, so who do they choose long-term?

David de Gea has been the #1 goalkeeper for Manchester United for about 8 years now – but they may have some big decisions ahead of them between the sticks, as young Englishman Dean Henderson continues to impress during his loan spell at Sheffield United.

Of course, if David de Gea was playing like David de Gea usually does, then we might not even need to have this conversation. Alas, the Spaniard has been in subpar form for a couple of years now and is looking more and more likely to be considered an early-peaker – similar to Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

This begs the dilemma – should Manchester United get rid of the Spaniard in favour of Dean Henderson, get rid of the Henderson himself, or try and keep both on the books for the future and see what happens?

Of course, the ideal scenario would be to keep both, but that likely won’t work out. Dean Henderson has shown this season that he is extremely capable of being a #1 goalkeeper for a Premier League team, and I’m sure he will want that to be at Manchester United in the long-term. After all, he has been a part of the club’s system for nearly a decade now.

While De Gea is technically supposed to be in his prime, his form over the last couple of years has been dodgy, and if things don’t get better soon, the club might be forced to act. The Spaniard would likely be more difficult to sell than the Englishman, which complicates things a bit more.

Then again, they could sell Dean Henderson and stick with De Gea – but this plan has a far greater capacity to backfire than the other options. There’s a good chance Henderson becomes a fantastic goalkeeper and the England #1, and an equally good chance that De Gea continues his downward spiral of form into his 30’s.

In the Premier League this season, Dean Henderson has kept a league-leading 9 clean sheets with a fantastic 74.2% save percentage, which trails only Alisson Becker. David de Gea, on the other hand, has 5 clean sheets with a 67.8% save percentage.

So what’s the best, and most viable option? Keep loaning Dean Henderson out until he’s ready to take over De Gea’s gloves, of course! That would likely be another season or two. Even if Sheffield want to come in with some money and take him permanently, United should refuse – unless the money is too good to turn down.

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Manchester United already have David de Gea’s replacement in their ranks in Dean Henderson, so ideally they would keep loaning him out until they are 100% sure the Spaniard is no longer the man to make the difference for them. That time may come far sooner than many expected.