David de Gea and Phil Jones are the only players still at Old Trafford who were part of the last title-winning Manchester United squad.
The Spanish goalkeeper has been the side’s main fixture since 2013. Contrastingly, the English defender’s time has been blighted with injury.
Despite being on an opposite end of the spectrum with regards to the impact they’ve had on the team for the better part of last seven years, at the moment both are unreliable for a team challenging for the Premier League title.
While Jones’ is hardly available for a selection due to persistent injuries, De Gea has been guilty of numerous errors leading to goal in recent campaigns.
Although the Englishman has been included in the club’s Premier League squad after the culmination of the winter window, he’s behind multiple centre-backs in the pecking order. As a result, his presence at the club has no impact – positive or negative – on the fortunes of the Red Devils.
The Spaniard, meanwhile, is still United’s first-choice between the sticks, and his mistakes are costing Solskjaer’s side several points, with the Everton draw being the latest addition in a string of calamitous displays.
It’s vital to note that the Manchester United backline isn’t protecting De Gea enough, but the current defensive options at Old Trafford are better than the ones he had in front of him before 2019. It’s the Spanish goalkeeper who is now the weakest link at the back.
In midst of the current season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made the bold decision to drop his first-choice striker Anthony Martial for Edinson Cavani.
The Frenchman was expected to lead United’s frontline this season after his prolific run during project restart, with free agent Cavani providing a cover, akin to Ighalo.
Nonetheless, after a disappointing start from the 25-year-old, the Norwegian was quick to place his trust in the ageing Uruguayan. The former PSG striker has taken Martial’s place with ease, and has been involved in three goals in his last five league appearances.
This decision has set a good precedent for the Manchester United boss to take his next big decision: make Dean Henderson United’s No. 1.
Solskjaer has given the academy goalkeeper opportunities in several fixtures, but he still sees the 30-year-old as the safer pair of hands. The Spain international has been favoured over the 23-year-old in all but two league games.
Henderson, who was Sheffield’s Young Player of the Year last season, has been guilty of making errors occasional errors as well.
But it’s better to invest time in a young goalkeeper, who has all the potential to become a very good all-round option between the sticks, than De Gea, whose best days seem behind him.
Even during his peak, when he was considered Premier League’s best shot-stopper, his other attributes were part of the debate with regards to meeting the demands of the modern approach. Henderson has shown glimpses of the said qualities already in England’s top flight.