Manchester United and Milan match may determine De Gea's future at Old Trafford»

2021-03-16

Manchester United drew 1-1 with AC Milan in the Europa League quarter-final at Old Trafford, a match that could prove crucial to David De Gea's future as Red Devils goalkeeper. Amad Diallo scored for Manchester United, but Simon Cowell snatched Milan's equalizer with a header in second-half stoppage time and saw the Rossoneri's goal canceled out by Frank Casey in the 12th minute after the referee returned to VAR to discover the Ivorian had touched the ball with his hand before a stunning shot into the net. Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson has been in charge for the third consecutive game in all competitions, with David De Gea absent due to paternity leave. De Gea's wife gave birth to their first child a few days ago, with the Spanish goalkeeper's absence giving Henderson the chance to watch Manchester United for several games in a row for the first time this season. Henderson did well to keep his net clean in two consecutive Premier League games, against Crystal Palace and Manchester City, but against Milan, he was unable to save Cayer's header, which came in the 90+2 minute of game time, and the 23-year-old was close to keeping a clean sheet for three consecutive games. Several press reports have confirmed De Gea will leave Manchester United, and Henderson's impressive performance in the Premier League has confirmed that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have a tough choice over the identity of the Reds first-choice goalkeeper when the Spaniard returns from his leave. Ahead of the Milan match, Manchester United legend Paul Scholes spoke to BT Sport about his former club's goalkeeper status, stressing that the next few weeks will be pivotal and could determine De Gea's future at Old Trafford. "It is Henderson's great opportunity to strengthen his position in the team, he loved De Gea, he has been an amazing keeper for this club for many years," Scholes said. "But after the Everton Game 3 or 4 weeks ago, when De Gea had two goals that could have been tackled, I thought it was time for Henderson to take over for some time." "Solskjaer obviously didn't agree with that, and he kept his faith in De Gea, and I still think that in some games he looked a little doubtful." "Actually, when I watched the game on Sunday, I know that Manchester City didn't create a lot of chances, in a great defensive performance, but I felt safe in Henderson's presence, and I felt that if City got the chance, Henderson would save." Scholes stressed that Henderson felt comfortable, relaxed and cohesive, and did not want to participate when he did not have to. "This is a big opportunity for him, not just for Manchester United, if he performs well in the next few games, he will be the first keeper at United and the first keeper in England." Scholes pointed out that the next few weeks will be pivotal and will probably decide De Gea's future at Manchester United, as he will not accept being the second goalkeeper in the squad and the competition with Henderson will be intense, especially as the England keeper will not accept a back-up if he continues to perform at the same pace as he has in Henderson's error against Milan, which led to the equalizer, was rare for the English keeper, but as Scholes said it came at a pivotal time, with De Gea competing, the Manchester United legend concluded: "this mistake could give De Gea a new chance."

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