There are a number of changes Manchester United could make this weekend. None of them would have such a seismic ripple as a decision to start Dean Henderson ahead of David de Gea.
De Gea has not had a bad start to the season, which seems odd to say considering he has conceded 11 goals in three games. He has been let dwon by his defence.
But at some point you have to consider that even if he is not part of the problem, he isn’t helping it either.
United have an eager young alternative in goal who has kept two clean sheets in his cup appearances so far this season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has so far found it straightforward to manage De Gea and Henderson, because of the Carabao Cup.
The decisions get tougher now, with no matches in the competition until mid-December.
Henderson will feel he is owed an opportunity at some stage, and against Newcastle this weekend might actually be a good moment to bring him in.
The England international is confident and vocal, and he will shake up an under performing defence.
De Gea did not exactly cover himself in glory in the defeat to Tottenham as he was beaten at his near post for Spurs’ fourth goal.
Out and swiftly back in
While that one ‘error’ is not reason in itself to drop him, United don’t have to frame it that way.
Henderson could come in to give the defence a boost against Newcastle, before De Gea reclaims his place days later for the Champions League away to Paris Saint-Germain.
The game against PSG is a match with more prestige attached to it, and it would soften the blow for De Gea of missing out against Newcastle.
Solskjaer has to recognise that Dean Henderson might be a better option than De Gea.
But the problem is cup games against Luton and a rotated Brighton team are not a good barometer to test him in comparison to what De Gea has faced.
That is why Solskjaer may be tempted to put him in against Newcastle, see how he fares, and also look at how De Gea performs in the Champions League.
Only then will Solskjaer be able to make a more informed decision as to whether Henderson is a better option for big Premier League games against Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton.
Throwing him into one of these would be an even braver call than doing so against Newcastle.
Calling Henderson into the side would be a bold call in itself this weekend, but the timing could be ideal, both to give the team a boost, and to further assess him for future chances.
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