Gary Neville says that Manchester United must find an “exceptional” goalkeeper to aid a title charge, amid further doubts about David de Gea.
De Gea has proved a top servant to United since his 2011 arrival, assuming and holding down the No. 1 spot since then.
However, the Spaniard‘s form has taken a hit ever since since the 2018 World Cup. Last season, he ranked alongside Jordan Pickford as one of the most error-strewn goalkeepers in the top flight.
What’s more, further mistakes have crept in of late, including in the 3-3 draw with Everton.
Speaking to Webby & O’Neill, Neville highlighted how he was eventually proved right in his public clashes with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who bought Alisson Becker to push his team to the title.
As such, he questioned whether De Gea and second-choice United stopper Dean Henderson will stand the test of time.
“Your goalkeeper, to win a league, has got to be exceptional,” the pundit said.
“I said three or four years ago, Jurgen Klopp took me on publicly, but you’re not going to win a league with [Loris] Karius and [Simon] Mignolet.
“That’s not to say they’re not good goalkeepers, or decent goalkeepers, but which team do you know that wins a league…there might be the odd one, but they usually have great goalkeepers, or goalkeepers that have had a great season.
“Ederson is a great goalkeeper, Petr Cech, [Peter] Schmeichel, [Edwin] Van der Sar, even Kasper Schmeichel for Leicester, David Seaman, Alisson. You’ve got to have a great goalkeeper.
“We have to start asking questions about David De Gea. The mistakes are coming more regularly now and they cost points.
“The game-winning saves are coming less, the one-on-one saves are coming less. I think that has to be a question that Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] has to answer.”
Meanwhile, Englishman Henderson has waited patiently for his chances this season. While he has played 11 times this season, only three appearances have come in the Premier League.
However, Neville added that Klopp and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola would already have their minds up if they replaced Solskjaer.
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“Then there’s the question of Henderson, are we saying that Henderson is going to be the number one for Manchester United?” Neville asked.
“What I would say now is, if Klopp or Pep Guardiola came into Manchester United, in six months’ time they would bring a new goalkeeper in that would remove all doubt as to whether he was great or not.
“That might be tough on Henderson, but to chance it – do you gamble with winning the league?”
Neville pointed out that Liverpool “just had” to go and bring in Alisson, after switching between Mignolet and Karius. Chelsea, meanwhile, “have had to change” after signing Kepa Arrizabalaga, he added.
“That’s the first question, is the ‘keeper right? That’s number one, deal with the ‘keeper situation.Your goalkeeper, to win a league, has got to be exceptional,” he said.