London — Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists goalkeeper David de Gea is still “the best in the world”, during a passionate defence of the Manchester United star after he was criticised for his performance against Tottenham Hotspur.

United face Sheffield United on Wednesday as Solskjaer’s side line up at Old Trafford for the first time since winning the Manchester derby on March 8.

United marked their opening match since the coronavirus lockdown with a 1-1 draw away to Spurs in the Premier League on Friday, but De Gea was criticised by former United skipper Roy Keane for letting Steven Bergwijn’s shot slip through his fingers.

Manager Solskjaer, a former Old Trafford teammate of Keane, defended his goalkeeper during a pre-match media conference on Tuesday.

“David is the best goalkeeper in the world,” he said. “He’s conceded two goals in the last seven games he’s played for us. There’s two games against City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Everton. Two goals in seven games, we’ve gone on a run not conceding goals.

“The Everton one is a freak one, maybe. This one, he cannot save it. He makes great saves, he wins games for us.”

De Gea is set to start against the Blades, when Dean Henderson will be unable to face his parent club due to the terms of his loan deal. The 23-year-old goalkeeper has shone for Sheffield United this season and was being touted as a potential starter for England before Euro 2020 was postponed due to the pandemic.

The Norwegian boss said Henderson would one day be the No 1 for Manchester United and England, hailing his performances for the Blades. “He’s learning all the time. He’s a passionate keeper who wants to be the best so he’s developing, he’s got good coaching there,” 

Solskjaer expects Henderson’s Bramall Lane loan to be formally extended before Tuesday’s deadline, but was unable to offer an update on teenage midfielder Angel Gomes’s future. The 19-year-old has yet to agree a new deal with United.