The upcoming choice between David de Gea and Dean Henderson is the biggest call for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer heading into Manchester United’s season.

Henderson played 1,125 minutes of Premier League football last season compared to De Gea’s 2,295.

But while a smaller sample size, Henderson still played enough to draw conclusions. And statistically speaking Manchester United were more successful when he played.

Manchester United Training Session
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Data from FBRef.com shows United accrued an average of 2.46 points per game when Henderson played 30 minutes or more.

This dropped to an average of 1.73 points per game when De Gea featured.

De Gea started 26 matches, of which United won 12.

Henderson started 12 matches, of which United won nine.

 

It is quite apparent United were stronger in the games Henderson played, winning 75 per cent of them, while winning just 46 per cent of the Premier League games De Gea started.

Henderson also kept more clean sheets in all competitions (13) than De Gea (12) despite playing fewer games.

Where does Henderson excel?

There were two areas where Henderson’s more proactive approach particularly excelled in comparison to De Gea.

Henderson cut out a total of nine crosses in 12 Premier League games, while De Gea cut out nine crosses in 26 games.

He is also more active outside the penalty area, making an average of 1.12 actions per game outside the box per 90, compared to De Gea’s number of just 0.35.

AC Milan v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Round Of 16 Leg Two
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It is a shame for Henderson that his season ended with a disappointing display against Liverpool which has clouded many fans’ judgement of him. His recent comments to Talksport about his late season injury may explain this.

To look at Henderson’s season as a whole reflects very well on him. It is a big decision to cast aside De Gea, but it may be for the best. Figures show United are better with the younger goalkeeper and making the bold call to go with him could pay off for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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