On a record-breaking night for him, David de Gea endured one of the most painful memories in Manchester United colours.
De Gea starting the Red Devils’ clash at West Ham means he now holds the record for most appearances as a goalkeeper in Man United’s history, but his 540th outing for the club will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
The Red Devils made a bright start at the London Stadium, but found themselves behind on on 27 minutes when Said Benrahma’s weak shot somehow found its way into the net.
After Luke Shaw gave the ball away, Benrahma bore down on goal in a solo run, however, he was surrounded by Man United players.
Benrahma managed to get a shot away but it looked set to be a routine save for the Spaniard, however, the ball somehow squirmed under De Gea.
Reacting to De Gea’s howler, Scott Minto said on commentary for talkSPORT: “I don’t know what David de Gea is doing there.
“His feet fall away from him… that is literally schoolboy stuff. You would not see a schoolboy goalkeeper not making that save.
“The bottom line is that’s a terrible mistake from what should be a world-class goalkeeper.”
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The error proved very costly as West Ham ran out 1-0 winners in what’s a huge blow for Man United in their bid to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
The Red Devils boss backed his goalkeeper as he reminded the doubters about De Gea’s form over the course of the season.
When asked if De Gea’s mistake was terrible, Ten Hag responded: “Yes, but, individual mistakes are a part of football and as a team you have to deal with it and you have to bounce back because it’s a team sport.
“Over the season he’s the one with the most clean sheets (15) – we did it as a team – and that can happen, it’s part of football but everyone has to take responsibility.”
De Gea has been a fantastic servant in his near 12-year stay at Old Trafford but his form has been called into question with this error being the sixth which has led to a goal since the start of last season.
This wasn’t the only occasion De Gea looked shaky at the London Stadium, though.
The start of the second half saw him give the ball straight to Hammers forward Michail Antonio from a goal kick, while Antonio was later adjudged to have fouled De Gea before hooking the ball in the net from a corner.
After the goal wasn’t given, talkSPORT’s Sam Matterface said: “He’s [De Gea’s] as soft as a marshmallow.”
Minto responded: “That’s being insulting to marshmallows!
“This is a nightmare game for De Gea and in terms of the longer term this is the type of game where Ten Hag will say, ‘I cannot have him as my Manchester United goalkeeper.’”
Minto also said: “I think it’s going to be fascinating to see what’s going to happen next season.
“I think the David de Gea question is a really interesting one. For me, United need a striker, a central midfielder and they need a centre-back.
“It depends how much money it’ll cost and what the budget is, they’ll be okay with De Gea but I think if you want to play the Erik ten Hag way he’s not the goalkeeper to do it. So I’m really interested to see what happens.”
But there’s no doubt there are Man United fans out there who believe De Gea shouldn’t have a future at Old Trafford.
After Benrahma’s goal, one fan wrote: “David De Gea you are finished! I’m not hearing anything from anyone. Thank you for your service.
Another said: “Thankful for everything David De Gea has done for Manchester United – one of my absolute favourites particularly through some bad times post Sir Alex Ferguson, but a new goalkeeper will be as transformative as a proper striker to this team.”
While another said: “F****** sell him immediately after the game. Completely unacceptable! Make sure that fax machine actually works. #degea #mufc.”
And a fourth said: “Time to move on from De gea despite all the good memories in our struggling years! UNACCEPTABLE PERFORMANCES RECENTLY.”