Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel believes that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer developed unnecessary competition last season between keepers David de Gea and Dean Henderson.
Appearing on legendary goalkeeper David Seaman’s “Seaman Says” podcast, Schmeichel argued that creating this sort of tension between the club’s goalkeepers messes with their mindset.
“The one thing you don’t want your goalkeepers to do is to go out and prove how good they are. You want them to be steady. If you have a competition situation and you make a mistake, you then know the other guy will get the chance then I can guarantee you will make the next mistake because your concentration is gone,” Schmeichel mentioned.
As someone who has played for Manchester United and the English national squad, Schmeichel knows that a keeper’s focus must be in the moment and clear from any and all distractions off the field.
Henderson returned to the club after an impressive two-year loan spell with Sheffield United and had been threatening to oust De Gea for the position as the primary keeper on the team after splitting time towards the tail-end of last season.
It would seem as if Henderson was poised to take the job soon from De Gea as the Spaniard’s morale seemed to drop.
However, Solskjaer has elected to start the longtime Manchester United goalkeeper over Henderson in all but one of their games, that being their English League Cup loss to West Ham United.
De Gea brought back the goalkeeper that Manchester United fans have come to rely on and has kept them afloat multiple times this season.
“I’m so happy that De Gea has come back to form. It’s not a coincidence that when the defense works, the goalkeeper also works. He’s protected now,” Schmeichel shared.
The 30-year-old Spaniard’s performance between the sticks has been overshadowed by a lackluster Manchester United midfield and defense this season.
For as much as De Gea saved multiple goals in the Leicester City game last weekend, the Manchester United defense allowed Leicester City to score four goals, punctuated by a wonderful floater knuckle ball from Youri Tielemans.
No one can fault De Gea for his performance as he is arguably the Red Devils’ most consistent player and will continue to play the part as they face Atalanta at Old Trafford on Wednesday, October 20 in a UEFA Champions League fixture.
Manchester United is in dire need of a win against Atalanta to keep their Champions League hopes alive before hosting Liverpool on Sunday, October 24 for their ninth English Premier League match.