Arsenal legend Paul Merson voiced his opinion after the goalkeeper struggled in a 3-2 defeat to RB Leipzig, a result that saw Man United exit the Champions League at the group stage.
On the night, Paul Scholes accused De Gea of bottling it. The United legend said the keeper was "scared of getting himself hurt" after he turned his back when Justin Kluivert tapped in a cross for Leipzig's third goal.
"He bottled it. He was scared of getting himself hurt."- Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 8, 2020
"He makes himself smaller, it's criminal."
Paul Scholes was not impressed with David De Gea's goalkeeping for RB Leipzig's third goal. pic.twitter.com/Iyd7GKZlBr
Now Merson has said that this was one mistake too many. Especially as United have such a strong back-up keeper in the form of 23-year-old England international Dean Henderson.
"David de Gea shouldn't be playing," Merson told Sky Sports, per Metro. 'He jumped out of the way for the third goal, if Ole has a bit about him he'll say: 'You're out, Dean Henderson's in.'
"People say: 'You can't play him [Henderson] in such a big game'... there's nobody in the stadium!
"Play him now when there's nobody watching, and then when the 75,000 fans return, he has games under his belt. This is the time to play him! What are they waiting for?"
De Gea has been a reflection of his inconsistent team this season. In some games, the Spain international has looked back to his match-winning best, while in others he's been seriously below-par.
Solskjaer has a habit of pulling out big results when he's under serious pressure - and Merse believes he needs to perform that trick once again this weekend or he could be out of a job.
"For me, this is a massive football match,' Merson told Sky. "I would say that if he doesn't get through this, that could be it. I think it's make or break for Ole.
"That is, unless Man United have a different plan, and think differently about this club than everyone else.
"Do Man Utd want anyone else? Are they comfortable with this situation? They run the show, there's no pressure. Do they like that? Do the people who run Man United think they are the biggest club in football? Do they think like me, or do they think: 'We're not that team anymore?'
"Would Zinedine Zidane be in a job today if Real Madrid hadn't made the last 16 of the Champions League? Definitely not. They would have gone off the idea that they are the biggest club in the world, and would have made that decision.
"I'd love to know whether those people running Manchester United are happy where they are. I don't get that feeling from the board that they believe they're the biggest team in the world."
All imagery: PA Images
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