Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted the battle between David de Gea and Dean Henderson to be the club’s first-choice goalkeeper is unsustainable.
Solskjaer has named a different goalkeeper for United’s last five games and if Henderson returns at Wolves today, with De Gea expected to start the Europa League final in midweek, that run could stretch to seven.
But while Solskjaer said there have been benefits to the battle between the goalkeepers, it’s not a long-term solution to have them sharing No. 1 duties.
Instead, the United boss accepts he has to nail his colours to the mast and he’s hinted De Gea could retain his status as the first-choice goalkeeper after rising to Henderson’s challenge this season.
De Gea has made 35 starts this season and Henderson 24, but it looked like the academy graduate had taken the No. 1 position when the Spaniard went on paternity leave in March
Henderson started eight successive Premier League games, but De Gea has been back in for two of the last three and he was in outstanding form in the Europa League semi-final second leg in Rome.
“It’s been a strange season in that respect with regards to goalkeeping. At United most of the time we’ve had a No. 1 who has been playing most of the time,” said Solskjaer.
“We brought Dean back to challenge David and he’s had a very good season. David flew home for the birth of his baby which gave Dean a longer run in the team and he really played well and established himself as a very good goalkeeper. He’s learnt a lot from it.
“But David is David, he’s really played well as well, he’s buckled down and really taken on the challenge. I’m really pleased with the two of them, it’s difficult to have that kind of rotation, you don’t rotate that much normally, I’ll have to find a solution for next year definitely.”
While solving the goalkeeping battle will be on Solskjaer’s agenda at the end of the season, his own future is also due for discussion once the curtain comes down on the campaign in Gdansk.
Solskjaer has only one year remaining on his current contract but an extension looks a certainty, even if the United manager is reluctant to see it that way.
“You all know I won’t talk myself up and I have had very good dialogue with the club, open and honest. If they want to sit down with me good, I will do that,” he said.
“I won’t sit here and say anything different and it has been a pleasure so far – but I think there are a few more steps to go so let’s see what happens.”