Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he had always planned to play Dean Henderson against old club Sheffield United and his team selection is not a reflection on David de Gea.
The 23-year-old, who performed excellently in his two seasons on loan at Brammall Lane, has had to play second fiddle to De Gea for much of this season though got his chance in recent games against Southampton and West Ham after the Spaniard suffered an injury.
Although De Gea was quickly recalled to the side, Solskjaer made the somewhat surprising decision to start Henderson on Thursday night and played down suggestions it was a sentimental selection.
Asked why he opted to pick Henderson over De Gea, Solskjaer told MUTV: ‘It’s one I had pencilled in for him early on.
‘I feel Dean is ready as well now to take these games on because he’s played well when he’s played.
‘David did really well against City, it’s not anything to do with that.’
Later asked by Amazon Prime Video if he wanted to pick a keeper with ‘inside knowledge’ of the opposition, Solskjaer laughed and said: ‘No, it’s the same as.
‘I think Dean has played really well. Of course he did really well last time against West Ham when he played in the league.
‘Then again, David’s played two good games now against City and… what was the game before that? I can’t remember the games.
‘I’ve got two great goalkeepers and today was Dean’s chance.’
Solskjaer’s side have struggled at home in the Premier League this season, but he is hoping they can correct that against the Blades, adding: ‘We’ve given teams enough encouragement lately and last year we did that here. We have a great record of coming back in games and we want to start on the front foot and take the game to them.’
Unfortunately for Manchester United and Henderson, they went behind after just five minutes as Oliver Burke closed down the keeper and robbed him of the ball inside the six-yard box to present David McGoldrick with an open goal.
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