Paul Merson gives advice to Manchester United over David de Gea v Dean Henderson debate

Paul Merson has weighed in on the David de Gea v Dean Henderson debate
Paul Merson has weighed in on the David de Gea v Dean Henderson debate (Picture: Getty)

Paul Merson has defended ‘top goalkeeper’ David de Gea and warned Manchester United about replacing him with Dean Henderson.

De Gea, who made his 400th appearance for the Red Devils earlier in the month, is under substantial pressure after another mixed season at Old Trafford.

The emergence of Henderson, who has impressed on loan at Premier League rivals Sheffield United, means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could look to offload struggling De Gea but Merson believes that would be a mistake.

‘I know David de Gea hasn’t had the best of times and his performance at Wembley last weekend was an absolute howler, but I still think he’s a top, top goalkeeper,’ he told StarSport.

‘I’m a big fan of his. He’s made some mistakes and there’s talk of Dean Henderson going back from Sheffield United to Manchester United to replace him.

‘But you have to remember, this is Manchester United we are talking about. It’s a different level, one of the biggest clubs in the world and a place where every single mistake is highlighted and picked apart.

‘Make a mistake for Sheffield United and what page of the newspaper is that on? Make a mistake at United and it’s on the back page.

Manchester United goalkeeper De Gea is under huge pressure
Manchester United goalkeeper De Gea is under huge pressure (Picture: Getty)

‘You have to be ready for that and I’m not sure Henderson is. He’s done well at Bramall Lane this season, don’t get me wrong, but I think he needs another 12 months to prove he can do it all again, prove his consistency and then United might have a big decision to make.’

The Arsenal legend added: ‘You have to produce week in, week out and I’d like to see Henderson continue doing this.

‘Look at keepers like Scott Carson and Ben Foster. At their clubs they might have 25 shots a game to deal with and they’re both great shot stoppers.

‘But the difference at the highest level is concentration. David James was one of the best I ever saw and played with, but his concentration levels were atrocious.

‘He’d come out of his area and do something stupid, because he had to think he was involved in the game.

‘That’s what can happen at United. You can have long periods with nothing to do and Henderson hasn’t been in that environment yet.’

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