David De Gea or Dean Henderson: Who Manchester United Should Go With Next Season

Cries of 'England's number one!' echoed around Bramall Lane last month. Despite losing 1-0 to Manchester City, Blades fans were desperate to show their appreciation for star keeper Dean Henderson. 

Henderson was in imperious form that night, saving impressively from Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Otamendi before keeping out Gabriel Jesus' penalty kick - all in the first half. 

He would eventually be beaten 20 minutes from time courtesy of the otherworldly brilliance of Kevin de Bruyne, whose sensational pass provided an easy tap in for​ Sergio Aguero. Henderson was rightly awarded man of the match but more importantly he earned praise from the notoriously hard to please Chris Wilder.

"If there is a better goalkeeper in the world at the moment I have not seen one. He has got a fabulous future. It was a big night for him and a big night for us as a football club," he told BBC Radio 5 Live (via ​BBC).

Earlier in the season he had been publicly criticised by Wilder after making a costly error in a game against ​Liverpool. Since then, he has gone from strength to strength with that man of the match display against the reigning champions one of the highlights of his career so far. 

One day on from the City game, David de Gea would experience one of his career lowlights - a 2-0 home defeat to struggling ​Burnley. It would be harsh to criticise the Spaniard too much for either goal but conceding twice from just five attempts echoed a wider trend of decline in De Gea's career. 

David De Gea

Two seasons ago, the 29-year-old could make a strong case for being the best player in his position in the world. His performance against Arsenal in December 2017 was one of the best goalkeeping displays in ​Premier League history, with De Gea registered a division high 14 saves to earn his side three points.

More recently, sloppy mistakes and a level of uncertainty - particularly when collecting crosses - have snuck into his game. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who can make a case for De Gea being the best goalkeeper in the world this season. 

All this begs the question of what happens to Henderson when he returns to Old Trafford after his loan spell in the summer. Reports suggest that the Englishman has ​no intention of playing second fiddle to De Gea, meaning United may have to put all their eggs into one of these goalkeeping baskets. 

So, whose basket should they choose? 

This is a tough call...maybe delving into the stats can help. Ah yes, lovely, warm, comforting stats. Stats make everything better.

Dean Henderson

In the most basic of goalkeeping metrics, clean sheets, Henderson leads the way. The Blades stopper has racked up nine shutouts this season his counterpart's five. Sheffield United's steely defence this season and thee frailties of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's back four must also be accounted for of course.

Thus, perhaps a better barometer of each player's performance is save percentage. It is a category that Henderson leads in also, registering a completion rate of 76.2% (the second highest in the league) to De Gea's 67.8%. The former ​Atletico Madrid man also trails in high claims this season. Henderson has racked up 14 to his four. 

These stats make grim reading for De Gea, but there is one area in which he holds a significant advantage. Henderson has registered the lowest pass completion rate of any player in the Premier League by some margin, 33.8%.

Though it should be noted that Sheffield United have also attempted the most long balls per 90 minutes this season, their goalkeeper's failure to reach his target is a definite concern.

De Gea in contrast is the finished product technically, racking up a pass success rate of 73.2%, while attempting only two less riskier long balls per game than Henderson and more passes overall.

The fact that the United stopper is now used to the intense pressure that comes with being a  United first teamer also stands in his favour, though Henderson's resilient response to receiving a public grilling earlier in the season suggests he possesses the mental strength required for the role. 

So, should he be given a chance next season? 

It certainly is tempting...but it is best to see if Henderson can replicate his incredible form during a further season on loan at Bramall Lane before giving up on one of the best goalkeepers of the Premier League era. It's an idea that he is apparently open to and the Red Devils should be keen to see him continue to develop with the impressive Blades.

De Gea keeps his place for now then, but the young upstart is edging closer to usurping his throne. 

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Source : 90min