Manchester United could potentially welcome David de Gea back into the first team fold this weekend for their clash with West Ham United.
The Spanish goalkeeper has been spending time back in his home country following the birth of his child. Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already confirmed that the stopper is back and is currently self-isolating ahead of a potential return to action.
This could tempt the Norwegian to reintroduce the 30-year-old straight back into the starting line-up in place of Dean Henderson, but the latter is more than deserving of holding onto the number one position.
When comparing the two goalkeepers’ statistics so far throughout the season, it is the former Sheffield United man who easily comes out on top.
According to SofaScore, Henderson has only conceded 0.6 goals per game in the Premier League compared to De Gea’s 1.2 – exactly half. Across the 16 games he has played in all competitions, the Englishman has claimed ten clean sheets.
Whilst that is a small sample size, as De Gea has the same clean sheet tally from 29 appearances, there is also quite a considerable gap between the two keepers’ personal performance levels.
One defence of De Gea could be that Henderson is slightly error-prone, as evidenced in the recent 1-1 draw against AC Milan in the UEFA Europa League as he flapped at Simon Kjaer’s late header.
However, there isn’t actually that much difference in that respect between the two ‘keepers.
In De Gea’s 337 Premier League appearances, he has committed 14 errors leading to an opposition goal. Meanwhile, Henderson has made two in his 41 appearances in the competition. Should he make as many top-flight appearances as De Gea, this would mean that he would go on to make just 15 at his current rate – a marginal difference.
On paper then, the two stoppers are certainly very similar, with Henderson having had the better 2020/21. Following last week’s 2-0 win over Manchester City, Solskjaer said of the Englishman: “Dean came in and played well and he’s ready.”
It means that there should be no rush to reintroduce the Spaniard and Henderson should remain as United’s last line of defence.