Ralf Rangnick has already made a decision on David de Gea and Dean Henderson
Ralf Rangnick took interim charge last week and he might have already made his decision on Man United’s goalkeepers
David de Gea and Dean Henderson fighting for the No.1 spot last season was a symptom of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s indecisiveness.
De Gea was out of form for the majority of last campaign and Henderson seemed likely to replace him as Manchester United’s No.1 goalkeeper, however, after the latter contracted COVID in July – Henderson struggled to recover from the effects – De Gea returned to Carrington for pre-season and he has since enjoyed a remarkable renaissance, regaining his confidence in between the sticks.
The Spaniard has looked renewed this season and he’s made a mockery of the goalkeeping dilemma that Solskjaer wrestled with.
It’s always a worrying sign when your goalkeeper is consistently one of your standout performers yet De Gea has been for United this term. The stopper has made multiple outstanding saves at pivotal moments and he’s been as important as Cristiano Ronaldo
Henderson had to watch De Gea rediscover his best form at home at the start of the season, however, the 24-year-old has now made a full recovery from his bout of COVID and he made his first start since September on Wednesday night in the Champions League against BSC Young Boys. Henderson might have been brought off just past the hour mark, but it was a pleasing reappearance.
Rangnick seemed to like what he saw in Henderson, claiming that he ‘was very proactive, very present’ in his time on the pitch.
The MEN revealed last month that Henderson is open to embarking on a six-month or 18-month loan in the New Year and a decision from those at the club on whether to sanction a temporary move for the stopper in January is now imminent.
That is potentially only a short-term fix and Rangnick’s comments to ESPN last year on his philosophy, and where goalkeepers fit into those tactical plans, suggest that De Gea could hold his No.1 spot for longer than Henderson would like.
“[Gegenpressing is] a very proactive style of football, similar to the way in which Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool have been playing under Klopp. We like to press high, with a very intense counter-pressure,” Rangnick explained.
Ralf Rangnick is in line to take over the Manchester United hotseat after the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“The goalkeeper also should not be the one with the most contact on the ball. In almost every league, the goalkeeper is technically the most limited football player on the pitch. Therefore we have to make sure that he has the lowest contact with the feet.”
Henderson’s proactiveness to clear danger on Wednesday night – he was often in contact with the ball – seemed to be the Englishman showcasing a part of his game in which De Gea has often struggled with as the 31-year-old’s distribution has always been just fine.
The problem is, Rangnick’s previous comments suggest that he doesn’t need that from his goalkeepers for his philosophy.
The odds seemed stacked against Henderson to regain the No.1 spot at United, but nothing is certain in football.