Happy to be sub – Solskjaer praises De Gea response to Henderson decision

Man Utd goalkeeper David de Gea

Man Utd goalkeeper David de Gea

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised David de Gea and Dean Henderson for how they are handling the competition to be Manchester United number one.

Henderson had deputised for De Gea while he was absent from the squad for the birth of his child last month.

But the England international has retained his place in the squad since his fellow goalkeeper’s return.

That included, for the first time since the switch was made, a match in the Premier League when United took on Brighton and Hove Albion last time out.

A key week sees United play two away matches. The Red Devils are against Granada in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday before taking on Tottenham in the league on Sunday.

Solskjaer was asked about the ongoing battle between his keepers ahead of the trip to Spain.

“Every time I try to explain to players why they aren’t playing in this particular game and what they have to do – all those discussions remain private of course,” said the United boss.

“David has been a top, top keeper and is still a top, top keeper. He is working to be ready when he plays.

“When it is David or Dean I’m very comfortable to play either of them and I’m pleased that either of them are happy to be a sub. 

“I cannot prioritise the league or Europa League. The next game is the most important one. 

“With the keepers I have two very, very good options and whoever plays will play well I’m sure.”

Solskjaer compared the battle for the number one spot to his own playing career at Old Trafford, where he was often part of a squad rotation system and coming up against big-name signings.

He added: “When you are a part of Man United, there will always be players that come in and they are not just there to fill the squad. 

“Everyone has got the ambition to take your shirt. 

“I was there myself as a striker. We signed Ruud van Nistelrooy, Diego Forlan, Louis Saha, we signed loads of top strikers – Teddy Sheringham, Dwight Yorke. 

“The aim for me then was to prove to the manager I could be important. I’m going to give everything I can to play. It’s the same whatever position you play. 

“David has had 10 fantastic years at Man United. He’s had challengers who of course wanted to play. 

“Sergio Romero has probably played less games than he deserved. Dean comes in and also gives his all. It’s a healthy competition, of course it is. 

“The goalkeeping departments are a very tight-knit group. They work together in prep, they have different gym sessions, they stay together more and naturally create a bond.

“The spirit in the goalkeeper department has been top. All of them want to play and that includes Lee Grant, Nathan Bishop and Sergio Romero. That is a competition I like.”

United are hot favourites to progress against Granada, who sit ninth in LaLiga and are playing in Europe for the first time this season.

But Solskjaer is not taking them lightly after defeating Serie A heavyweights Milan in the previous round.

He added: “Complacency? No. When you beat Real Sociedad or AC Milan you just get more of a taste for it. You know you have jumped a couple of high hurdles. 

“Granada beating Napoli, getting through the group and then beating Molde last time is a sign of a team that has got quality. 

“It is going to be a difficult game. We have of course set our eyes on the final and improving on last season. We want to win this tournament.

“It is very big for us, of course. The next game is always the most important, we have to live by the principle. 

“If you get the chance to play in a quarter-final in Europe for Man United, every player knows this is a massive game and an important game for you. 

“We have beaten Milan away, we have beaten Real Sociedad, and have drawn against them both at home. This game can give us even more momentum.”