Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told David de Gea’s critics that they are making a mistake by writing the Spaniard off.
De Gea has seen his Manchester United place come under scrutiny recently, with Dean Henderson impressing in his absence for the previous three games, although he will feel he should have saved Simon Kjaer’s header against AC Milan on Thursday.
Henderson’s chance has arrived because De Gea has been on paternity leave in Spain for the birth of his daughter Yanay, but he is now back in Manchester and could feature in the second leg of the Europa League last-16 tie with Milan on Thursday.
While momentum has been gathering behind Henderson in recent games, Solskjaer highlighted De Gea’s consistency over a decade at United and hit out at the critics who are calling time on his career at the club.
“You know, David has been here for 10 years and he has been absolutely brilliant for us. He has pulled off save after save, season after season, at the highest level,” he said.
“Dean is learning. Dean is getting better and better, he’s improving. There is no such thing as an undisputed No 1 here. You have got to perform.
“I’m not blind. I have seen the media in the last couple of weeks, with people writing David off. That is completely wrong. David is a top, top goalkeeper.
“He was allowed to go home for the birth of his first kid and Dean has come in and performed really well. I am sure he will play well again.”
The battle between De Gea and Henderson has been a sub-plot of United’s season. The latter now has nine clean sheets in his 15 games but having turned 24 on Friday he might feel his time to be a No. 1 is now.
Henderson has made no secret of his ambitions to be United and England’s first-choice goalkeeper, but Solskjaer insists the dynamic between the pair is good and that the onus is on them to prove their worth to him.
“I’d rather have three very good goalkeepers rather than none – and I am in the very fortunate position that I have got two really top ones,” he said.
“It’s a great position for me to be in and it’s a great challenge for the two of them.
“They know they have to perform. They have to train well, give to the team and whichever one isn’t playing has to support the other one from the bench.
“It’s a good dynamic.”