DEAN HENDERSON’S Europa League howler has left Ole Solskjaer with a goalkeeping quandary for Sunday’s visit of West Ham.
Even the manager himself is not sure what is going on.
David De Gea was allowed leave to return to Spain for the birth of his first child and came back to Manchester at the start of the week.
But Covid-19 self-isolation rules and subsequent tests and result wait time means he is unlikely to be available for Sunday’s visit of the Hammers.
At least that’s what Solskjaer thinks.
Solskjaer said: “He is self-isolating. He is touch and go for Sunday I think. I can’t really know when he came back so I am not really sure if it was Monday or Tuesday.
“I think the rules are he has to stay at home. He is not training with us anyway. It’s different if you travel away and compete so no he has not been training since he came back.”
Given Solskjaer’s lack of knowledge about De Gea’s availability, it seems clear that Henderson will keep his place for Sunday.
But the United number two’s bid to be the number one permanently took a severe blow on Thursday night.
The Red Devils were leading AC Milan 1-0 in their Europa League last 16 first leg when he pushed Simon Kjaer’s injury time header into the net.
Henderson’s stock rose during a successful loan last season at Sheffield United and he had designs on unseating De Gea.
The Three Lions international is known both in club and England circles to be a very vocal and confident figure.
In one recent game he was even seen ordering club captain Harry Maguire what to do which lead to a rueful glance to the bench from the club captain.
Now Thursday night’s injury time blunder may lead to a period of humility.
What he could certainly do with on Sunday is a clean sheet with the high flying Hammers now serious contenders for one of those top four spots.
Second-placed United could easily slip out the Champions League places if they incur another hiccup and West Ham are waiting in fifth place just six points behind them
The Red Devils played them recently at home in the FA Cup needing extra time to land their place in the last eight and Solskjaer recognises what a good job former Old Trafford boss David Moyes has done there.
He said: “They have been brilliant. We played them in the FA Cup not so long ago as well. We went to extra time. It was a tight even game.
“He has got players who score goals, they are creative, they defend really well, they are really difficult at set plays. David has done a tremendous job, that we know he is capable of and I am very happy for him.
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“We know it is a big game for us. It’s maybe too far ahead to City so we need to consolidate our place in the top two or three hopefully.”
While rules will not allow on loan Jesse Lingard to face his employers it is clear his shift to London has helped inspire West Ham.
He has scored four times in his six appearances and is looking back to his best.
Solskjaer said: “For Jesse it’s really worked out, for David it’s really worked out and for us as a club as well because we know that Jesse’s position is a 10 and we have got Bruno Fernandes there so for me it was a no brainer to give Jesse a chance to prove himself and play some football again. He has been really bright for them and he is finally back to himself.”
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