Ole Gunnar Salsakazar was adamant that Dean Henderson’s Manchester United career was not “made or broken” with Tuesday night’s Champions League match against Istanbul Basakshir – and now you can see why.
Starting his journey to Istanbul, Henderson was expected to make his fourth appearance at United – and his first at Old Trafford – with a return fixing, so David de Gea was surprised when the goal was scored.
After what happened in Turkey, Soulskazar clearly felt that he could not take any risks with his selection, but then the goalkeeper showed Henderson, perhaps the strongest area of his team, as a quality reserve for De Gea.
The academy graduate collected his first England cap last week and was one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League with Sheffield United last season. His Champions League games are better than his ability to play against Group-Orans.
But as we saw last season, Salzcazar will always rely on De Gea when the crisis arises, as Sergio Romero could testify after being knocked out of United’s three knockout semifinals in the last three seasons.
That was the final straw for Romero, who is keen to leave the club, and Soulskazar would hope Henderson failed to reach that conclusion.
Soulskazar made it clear that he could expect to get the Henderson Games before the Carabao Cup final at Everton on 23 December, but the opportunity window seems to be closing after Tuesday night.
It could be something that has been lost in Soulschzar’s comments that seem to be exclusive now.
“Dean wants to stay at Man United and play for Man United,” Soulskazar said. “I can’t see the argument in just one possible presence before Christmas. Do you know how many games we’ve got?”
“I totally agree that tomorrow is the make-or-break for Dean. He’s back, he’s really well trained, he’s matured, he’s played something, he’s training with one of the best goalkeepers in the world, he’s got the chance to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world. , Great competition between them.
“So I won’t buy this argument for him or break it. And it’s not for me to keep everyone happy. Performance will always be the reason to decide whether you play or not. I think the position you play for Man United is happy for me and the coaches. It is your responsibility to do so, so you can “
This final sentence is probably instructive in the case of D-Zia. The 30-year-old has responded to Henderson’s ambitions and has so far looked like a goalkeeper this season who has won the Player of the Year award at Old Trafford.
Elected Tuesday, he has made some great saves again. It was hard to argue that Solskier did not get the decision right.
But it will make Henderson feel comfortable. He will turn 24 in March and he wants more after getting a taste of international football last week. Henderson’s ambition is not to spend 45 minutes for his country and some carabao cup fixtures for United.
In the short term, Henderson will have to realize that his time to move to number one in next summer’s European Championships is coming to an end. He will not leave Nick Pope and Jordan Pickford in the presence of only a handful of United.
But it could make his Old Trafford situation even more urgent. De Gea is at his first top as a goalkeeper and unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon, so his options are limited if Henderson can’t force his move on training performance and De Gea’s performances return to the top. If an international tournament has already overtaken him, will he have the patience to sit back and wait for another chance next season?
United are in a lucky position to consider two quality goalkeepers from De Gea and Henderson, but keeping them both happy has never been an easy task. Soulsky wouldn’t see it as a job to keep them satisfied, but the frustration on Henderson’s side would be perfectly understandable if he didn’t even get a chance to start games like tailoring for her.