Retired goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer says it is time for David de Gea to depart Manchester United and hand over the gloves to Dean Henderson.
De Gea joined United from Atletico Madrid in 2011 and has since made 403 appearances for the club.
He has been widely regarded as one of the best ‘keepers in the world during that time. He is often credited with preventing United from slipping further down the league table due to his performances between the sticks.
However the Spaniard has struggled in recent years, making more errors and conceding more goals than he previously had. Most recently, his errors in last weekend’s 3-1 loss to Chelsea cost his side a chance at FA Cup glory.
Pressure has been mounting on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop de Gea, although he has stuck by him so far. There are also reports that United could look to replace him in the upcoming transfer window.
And Schwarzer says now is the right time for him to leave as it could breathe new life into his career. The Australian reflected on personal experience of the good a transfer can do, while he also likened de Gea’s situation to that of former Liverpool man Pepe Reina, who endured similar struggles prior to leaving Anfield.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “I was at Middlesbrough for nearly 12 years. People all think you’re on the decline, you’re finished and you need to move on to almost give you that kickstart, to rejuvenate.
“For me, that was the best thing I ever did was to move on. It gave me that emphasis to prove new sets of fans wrong to your teammates.
“I think for David de Gea he’s in a position now where I think it is time [to leave] personally.
“There’s a comparison also to when Pepe Reina was at Liverpool. Towards the back end of his career, there was a probably a 12 to 18 month period of time where he made a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes that he hadn’t made previosuly.
“For him he needed to move on. Once he moved on he regained some of that form and became that really good goalkeeper again. David de Gea’s the same, I think it’s time for him now to move on.”
Henderson ready to be United number one
Schwarzer also believes that Dean Henderson is ready to be Manchester United’s number one.
The 23-year-old has had another impressive season on-loan with Sheffield United, keeping 13 Premier League clean sheets.
That comes after the Whitehaven-born stopper helped the Blades achieve promotion in the 2018/19 campaign.
And Schwarzer says Henderson should be given the opportunity at United now he has proved himself elsewhere.
“Dean Henderson has made it very clear he doesn’t want to come back as a number two. He only wants to come back to Old Trafford if he’s going to be number one.
“From my understanding, he feels if he were to go back he wouldn’t be on an even playing field. That David de Gea would always be regarded as the number one and he would be regarded as the number two.
” I think Dean Henderson has shown enough this season. I think he’s shown last season in the Championship that he’s good enough to play at that level and be one of the best if not the best in that division. This season he’s shown that he can handle the step up and he’s done it very, very well.
Handling the pressure is key
“The question people ask is ‘can he handle the pressure of playing at Old Trafford and being number one?’. That is another pressure, and of course we’re not going to know until he’s given that opportunity.
“But I think the one thing that is in his favour is he has been at the club for a long, long time. He hasn’t played in the first team, but he knows what it’s like to be a Manchester United player. He knows the pressures that go with being a Manchester United player.
“Having sat down with him, having spoken to him in depth, he’s a very, very confident young man but he also backs up his performances. I believe he’s ready now to make that step up.”