Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised Dean Henderson but admits he is “not the most patient guy” as he competes with David de Gea to be Manchester United’s first-choice goalkeeper.
Henderson has made 10 appearances in all competitions for United this season but has started just two Premier League games compared to 36 on loan at Sheffield United last term.
The 23-year-old remains behind De Gea in the pecking order at Old Trafford but there have been calls for the Spaniard to be replaced following Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Everton.
De Gea’s performance was heavily criticised after he made a mistake for Everton’s first goal and was tentative when coming off his line as Dominic Calvert-Lewin poked in a 95th-minute equaliser.
Asked how long it will be before Henderson gets a regular run in the side, United boss Solskjaer said: “Dean has played well whenever he’s got the chance. He’s matured and for me he’s developed his game.
“I know he’s not played as many games as he would have last season, but you see every game when he plays and in training his improvement.
“He’s working hard on a couple of aspects of his game we’ve spoken about with him, and I’ve been impressed with his attitude and work rate.
“Of course, he’s not the most patient guy. He wants to play every game because he knows he’ll perform well.”
‘Greenwood is over his blip’
Solskjaer says Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood is “over his blip” and has “matured immensely” in recent weeks.
Greenwood has struggled to replicate his 2019/20 form this season having scored just four goals in 27 appearances, but the teenager’s performances of late suggest that statistic fails to tell the whole story.
The 19-year-old netted for the first time since early December in the FA Cup fourth-round win over Liverpool at the end of January and produced another impressive display in Saturday’s draw with Everton in the Premier League.
No teenager has scored more goals for United in a single campaign than Greenwood’s 17 last term – a tally level with Brian Kidd, George Best and Wayne Rooney – and Solskjaer believes the youngster is returning to those standards.
“Mason was different class against Everton and I thought he was the standout performer on the pitch,” Solskjaer said. “He just didn’t get the goal his performance deserved.
“I know we scored nine against Southampton [last Tuesday], but I thought his performance was top class.
“He’s improved and matured immensely. He’s working with some of the top forwards in the country, he’s learning off them and it’s exciting to see that he’s over his blip and he’s playing really, really well.”
Ole: Winning a trophy is the next step
United host West Ham in the FA Cup fifth round on Tuesday night as they hunt for a first major honour under Solskjaer and look to end the club’s four-year wait for silverware.
The Norwegian, who has led United to four consecutive semi-final defeats, believes his side have improved significantly since he took charge but insists the next step is to win trophies.
“Of course, a trophy is always what you’re aiming for,” Solskjaer said. “You want to win every single competition – the FA Cup, Europa League and every game you play in the Premier League.
“That’s the ultimate challenge and a test for a team to go all the way. We’ve improved, we’ve had a plan in place and I think the team is getting better and better.
“Last season we reached the semi-final. It was disappointing to lose that one of course – you want to go all the way and you want to lift a trophy.
“That’s not the be-all and end-all, of course it isn’t. To get to a final sometimes you’re lucky with the draw, but to win a final then all the good teams have been beaten, so the next step for us in the development of this team is to go all the way in a competition.”
Manchester United play West Ham in the FA Cup fifth round on Tuesday before travelling to West Brom in the Premier League on Sunday, live on Sky Sports from 1pm; kick-off 2pm.