Gary Neville: Why I’m worried about this situation at Man United

Gary Neville discusses the goalkeeping situation at Man United ahead of the new Premier League season

David De Gea
David De Gea (Photo: The Sport Review)

Gary Neville has admitted that he is “worried” about the goalkeeping situation involving David De Gea and Dean Henderson at Manchester United next season.

The Red Devils recently tied Henderson down to a new long-term contract at Old Trafford, and the shot-stopper will now compete with De Gea for a starting spot at Manchester United next season following his successful loan spell at Sheffield United last term.

De Gea has come in for criticism for a number of below-par performances in goal for Manchester United over the last few months, with the Spaniard accused of letting his standards drop in recent seasons.

Henderson and De Gea now look set to battle for the number one spot at Old Trafford in the coming season as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to bring the best out of both players.

However, former Manchester United defender Neville has admitted that he is slightly concerned about the goalkeeping situation at Old Trafford heading into the new campaign.

Speaking in an interview with Sky Sports News, Neville said: “It’s an intriguing one and I’m a little bit worried about it.

“It looks brilliant on the face of it. You’ve got a goalkeeper in David de Gea, who has been world-class, absolutely no doubt about it.

“He’s been Manchester United’s player of the season in four out of the past six seasons, but just over the past 12 to 18 months he’s definitely dipped below the levels he has achieved previously.

“You’ve then got Dean Henderson who has had a wonderful season and wants the England number one spot. He wants to be at major tournaments, he wants to play for Manchester United and he isn’t going to wait around.

“I always like a situation where you’ve got an established number one, who is fantastic, and you’ve got a very good number two, who knows his position.

“De Gea makes a mistake in week two, you know what the media are going to say, is this the moment that Henderson comes in? Ole is going to have that question hanging over him all the time, potentially, during the season.

“It’s something that is going to provide a challenge for him to be able to manage.”

Neville is expecting to see De Gea start the new season as the number one between the posts.

He continued: “De Gea definitely starts as number one because there was a point where Ole could’ve dropped him towards the end of the season.

“However, he stuck with him at that point and we are only around four weeks later.

“I still think Henderson’s got a lot to prove. Playing in goal for Sheffield United is a lot different than standing out there in that vacuous, empty, massive space which is the goal mouth at Old Trafford, when the team are up at the other end of the pitch most of the time attacking and then all of sudden you’ve got your first interaction with the game after 15 minutes and your concentration is tested like never before.

“I think it’s a very different expectation. It’s not a given that he’s going to go into the team at Manchester United and be everything that everyone thinks he’s going to be. He hasn’t got the experience yet to handle Old Trafford or to show us that he can handle Old Trafford. We hope he can show the potential he’s got but that’s the hardest position on a football field by a long way.

“It’s the biggest pressure on a football field and I think the Manchester United goalkeeping position, I would argue, is one of the most pressurised positions in English football.”

Manchester United will kick off their new Premier League campaign with a home clash against Crystal Palace on 19 September.

The Red Devils ended up in third place in the Premier League table last season and they will be aiming to try and mount a title challenge this time around.

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