David de Gea has made a bold statement to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by returning early for pre-season in a bid to reclaim his spot as Manchester United’s number one goalkeeper.
De Gea, 30, has now completed ten seasons with the Red Devils after signing from Atletico Madrid on 2011. The Spain international has made 339 Premier League appearances and 441 in all competitions. But he was put under pressure by Dean Henderson last term.
The 24-year-old was seen between the posts on 13 occasions in the league. And he was the man that Solskjaer turned to in the top flight for the last 10 games of the campaign.
There is no question that De Gea has been an inspirational last line of defence for United for a decade. But errors have crept into his game, with calls for Henderson to be given a run in the side.
The Whitehaven-born ace has been on the senior books since 2015. However, he had not made an appearance until 2020-21, having been farmed out to Stockport County, Grimsby, Shrewsbury and Sheffield United.
But 26 outings in all competitions last season proves that the Norwegian tactician trusts the man with one England cap. It is unclear in which direction the north-west giants will go, with De Gea unlikely to be sold.
That is because his astronomical wages and £50m price tag are restrictive. Not many clubs would be willing to part company with that sum for a man who will turn 31 in November.
And, with that in mind, all at the club – Henderson aside – will be relieved to witness his positive attitude. He is now back at the club two weeks before he was due, according to The Daily Star.
Despite being in the squad, he played no part in Spain’s run to the Euro 2020 semi-finals.
Solskjaer faces tough De Gea decision
Management is all about making the right choices and the Scandinavian has enjoyed success since he took over. A second-place finish behind rivals Manchester City was creditable but it is silverware the fans crave.
Losing the Europa League final on penalties to Villarreal was a kick in the teeth. But the start of a new season is always grounds for optimism.
Whether that meets with the player’s approval is another question after his lengthy service to the club.