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Pep Guardiola has 'told' Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag why he must make the 'hardest decision' and axe key player

Pep Guardiola has 'told' Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag why he must make the 'hardest decision' and axe key player

Erik ten Hag must make the "hardest decision" of his career.

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has been told to make a decision Pep Guardiola labelled as the “hardest” of his managerial career.

David De Gea has been a mainstay in the United goal for over a decade, yet recent performances have raised questions regarding the Spaniard’s long-term future at the club.

On Sunday De Gea made a horrendous error to gift Said Benrahma the only goal of the game as United fell to a costly 1-0 defeat to West Ham.

Indeed, it was the 32-year-old’s fourth error leading to a goal in all competitions - the joint most of any Premier League player, with Hugo Lloris.

While De Gea is in talks over a new United deal on a reduced basic wage, with increased performance-related bonuses, for many the keeper’s latest strew of blunders may have been one mistake too many.

Ten Hag to axe De Gea?

Though De Gea is close to agreeing to a new United deal, the Times claim that the former Spain No.1 has not been given any assurances that he will be the first choice next term.

The publication alleges the club are set to hold talks with Dean Henderson, who is currently on loan at Nottingham Forest.

Moreover, United have been linked to Brentford’s David Raya, Porto’s Diogo Costa and Inter Milan’s André Onana in recent weeks - all players comfortable with the ball at their feet.

Should Ten Hag relieve De Gea of his No.1 duties it would be a decision akin to Guardiola’s ruthless axing of Joe Hart back in 2016.

Guardiola admitted jettisoning Hart at City was the toughest decision of his career. At the time the Spaniard told the City stalwart that a crucial part of his football philosophy was to have a goalkeeper that could build moves from the back.

“It was the hardest decision I’ve had to take as a manager because, in the short time we had together, he was so professional in the way he reacted,” he said in 2018.

“Normally a player thinks of himself, himself, himself. It’s not easy but Joe put himself a little bit in my position and said he understood perfectly. That’s why I appreciate a lot his behaviour and that of his agent and his people.

“I know how tough it was for the fans and for the people at the club. He was an incredible keeper and had incredible results here in the club.

“He’s part of the history here. There is no doubt how important for this club he was and is. And you will see how the people appreciate what he has done.

“This club helped to build something special with the facilities but after that there is the quality of the players in those 10 years and Joe is part of that, no doubt about it. That’s why it was not easy for me to take the decision. I always wished him the best – I said it privately and publicly.”

Despite initially bringing in Claudio Bravo as Hart’s replacement, who committed a series of costly errors that destabilised City’s defence, Ederson subsequently arrived from Porto, and City have not looked back since.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Football, David De Gea, Transfers, Premier League, Erik Ten Hag, Manchester City, Joe Hart, Manchester United