Manchester United’s season is drawing to a close. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is finding out just how hard it is to manage this team, these group of players and the fans’ expectations.
On derby day things went from bad to worse. Manchester City were comfortable 2-0 winners in a game that looked close until they scored the opening goal. Leroy Sane doubled their lead moments later. Once again, David de Gea made a high profile error.
After spending five years at football’s pinnacle, it’s probably time to take De Gea off that pedestal. It all stems from the poor World Cup he had last summer, and this month has just been mistake-after-mistake. You look at Lionel Messi’s second goal at the Camp Nou, Gylfi Sigurdsson’s weak strike that went beyond the Spaniard and now this from Sane. This is his worst run in years.
Thankfully for the Red Devils, they have an extremely capable back-up waiting in the wings. Sergio Romero, now aged 32, has played back-up for four seasons now. Is this his time to shine?
Our Argentine shot-stopper has made 44 appearances for the Old Trafford club. I genuinely cannot remember the las time he made an error. Sure, he has tended to feature in games against lower level opposition, but Romero has been a reliable goalkeeper us from day one.
Maybe it’s the experience. He’s five-years further into his career than De Gea, not once has he kicked up a fuss about not playing, nor has he cried and asked for a move away. Instead, Romero has stepped up when called upon.
I look at it like this, what do United have to lose? Right now, Romero simply cannot play any worse than De Gea. Even if one or two mistakes are made, at least the club know that they’ll probably have to go out and sign someone rather than putting their trust in the former Sampdoria man; rather than giving him the job for a season and figuring that out twelve months further down the line…
De Gea is obviously an incredible shot-stopper, there’s no getting away from that. Romero has certainly been learning from his pal, though, as we’ve seen some excellent one-on-one saves from the back-up goalie, even some with his legs. I genuinely don’t think we’d lose out massively in that regard.
In terms of controlling his box, I’d actually give Romero the nod over De Gea. Time and time again the latter has shied away from coming and collecting the ball in a crowded penalty area. Maybe that’s due to the fact that the defence in front of him is a truly awful one, but it’s something that has always been lacking.
When it comes to distributing the ball there isn’t much difference between them either. If I had to pick I’d go for Romero. De Gea, particularly recently, has tended to hold onto the football for too long. Again, though, that could be down to a lack of movement from the outfield players.
I just don’t think United have anything to lose. Top four is probably gone anyway, and in my opinion, De Gea’s off this summer. Why not give those minutes to someone who actually wants to be here?