LONDON, United Kingdom, Jun 23 – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted goalkeeper David de Gea is still “the best in the world”, during a passionate defence of the Manchester United star after he was heavily criticised for his performance against Tottenham Hotspur.
United face Sheffield United on Wednesday as Solskjaer’s side line up at Old Trafford for the first time since winning the Manchester derby on March 8.
The Reds marked their opening match since the coronavirus lockdown with a 1-1 draw away to Spurs in the Premier League on Friday but De Gea was heavily criticised by former United skipper Roy Keane for letting Steven Bergwijn’s shot slip through his fingers.
United manager Solskjaer, a former Old Trafford team-mate of Keane, defended his goalkeeper, however, during a pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
“David is the best goalkeeper in the world,” he said.
“He’s conceded two goals in the last seven games he’s played for us. There’s two games against City, Chelsea, of course Tottenham, Everton. Two goals in seven games, we’ve gone on a run not conceding goals.
“The Everton one is a freak one, maybe. This one, he cannot save it. He makes great saves, he wins games for us.”
De Gea is set to start against the Blades, when Dean Henderson will be unable to face his parent club due to the terms of his loan deal.
The 23-year-old goalkeeper has shone for Sheffield United this season and was being touted as a potential starter for England before Euro 2020 was postponed due to the pandemic.
The Norwegian boss said Henderson would one day be the number one for Manchester United and England, hailing his performances for the Blades.
“He’s learning all the time. He’s a passionate keeper that wants to be the best so he’s developing, he’s got good coaching there,” said Solskjaer.
“I think one day he’ll be England number one and Man United number one and it’s up to him to keep developing.”
Solskjaer expects Henderson’s Bramall Lane loan to be formally extended before Tuesday’s deadline, but was unable to offer an update on Angel Gomes’ future.
The 19-year-old has yet to agree a new deal with United.
“For me, I’ve not spoken to anyone last night or this morning,” Solskjaer said of the teenage midfielder, whose deal expires at the end of the month.
“So the paperwork and the admin, the meetings that are going on, I can’t really update on that.”