When Pep Guardiola joined Manchester City in 2016, his first major decision was telling Joe Hart who had been undisputed first choice goalkeeper, that there was no future for him at the club. This came as a shock to majority of Manchester City fans as Hart was one of the world best players in his position. Guardiola quickly brought in Claudio Bravo from Barcelona and made him his first choice goalkeeper due to his abilities on the ball. But after a season full of errors, he was dropped and Ederson Moraes was signed ahead of the 2017/2018 season. Ederson has shown over the last five years why Pep wanted him badly as he has improved the City side considerably with his short, medium and long range passing, even popping up with a few assists and winning the last three Golden Glove awards.
With Erik Ten Hag joining the red half of Manchester this summer, he has a lot of work on his hands after Manchester United had their worst ever premier league season (recording their lowest ever number of points), conceding 57 goals while having a goal difference of 0. Anyone who has watched United over the last eight years would have recognized that the team defence is poor and it was on full display in the 2021/2022 season as we shipped in very soft goals against almost every opponent.
David De Gea has been praised by most fans as one of the best players in the just concluded season as he made the third highest number of saves in the league (128) but he has also been criticized as being poor in commanding his box, claiming crosses, sweeping and playing out from the back with fans clamoring for him to be replaced.
Football has evolved from the point when goalkeeper just hoof the ball upfield. These days the keeper is expected to be the 11th outfield player, contribute to build up, sweep up behind his defense and command his box. These are all qualities which Ten Hag expects from his goalkeeper and David De Gea who is already 31 cannot be expected to change his game to play how Ten Hag wants which might mean Dean Henderson is given a chance in preseason or a new goalkeeper is signed. Dean Henderson is desperate to be given a run of games to prove himself and show that he can be United’s number one going forward.
Erik Ten Hag will be looking to improve his team performances in all areas and the goalkeeper position is an area which needs addressing as soon as possible.
Will Guardiola’s protégé follow in his footsteps or will he retain David De Gea as his first choice goalkeeper?