[ENT] Solskjaer must show his mettle by dropping Man Utd stars Maguire and De Gea

This is what Premier League managers get paid the big bucks for.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a keeper who cannot stop letting in goals and a centre-half who has most recently been a liability for club and country.

Never mind that keeper is a four-time Manchester United Player of the Year and that centre-half is the club captain.

Never mind David de Gea is an Old Trafford hall-of-famer and Harry Maguire has previously been solid for United and England.

Never mind De Gea is on a £350,000-a-week contract that has a minimum of almost three years to run and that Maguire is the world’s most expensive defender.

Solskjaer is faced with a decision which may shape his United tenure

The pair are in a slump. De Gea’s is more prolonged than Maguire’s but the two are in a trough of form, nevertheless.

The Spaniard’s international travails this week were less stark than those of his club skipper’s but his positioning for Ukraine’s winner in Kiev on Tuesday was clearly awry.

After one prominent journalist claimed the United man was the “worst starting keeper in the history of the Spanish team”, national team manager Luis Enrique said: “Blaming De Gea… has become an obsession, a turn on.”

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Interestingly made, but Enrique might have a point.

However, while you would be harsh to apportion unfiltered blame to De Gea for any of United’s concessions this season, the bald fact is that he has shipped eleven in three.

Maguire was sent off just 31 minutes into England’s defeat to Denmark

Solskjaer has a replacement available who could not have more confidence and believes he should be number one.

Dean Henderson also has a very good body of work behind him.

It would be a ballsy move to drop De Gea but he does have a high-quality alternative.

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That is why it would be a ballsier move to give Maguire a break – because the alternatives are not exactly blue-chip.

There are few who have not connected Maguire’s struggles with his Mykonos troubles. There are many who think he is in some sort of psychological battle, his mind elsewhere after the ‘ordeal’ in Greece.

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But maybe he is just in a rotten vein of form and the timing of his challenges – so important to the game of a defender who is not naturally pacy – has simply gone to pot.

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Maybe that is because his fitness is not where it should be and extra work on the training ground would do him good.

These are big decisions for Solskjaer but if he wants to be classed in that cabal of elite managers, they are the sort of decisions he has to start taking.

Newcastle United are not what you would call formidable opposition but they are in decent nick and have the players to expose obvious weaknesses.

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Should Solskjaer drop De Gea and Maguire for the trip to Newcastle on Saturday? Have your say here.

Henderson is poised to grab De Gea’s No.1 spot

And while class might be permanent and all that, De Gea and Maguire are obvious weaknesses.

The United manager can sit on his hands, reaffirm his trust in two outstanding club servants and do nothing.

But if he does, and Maguire and De Gea continue in their current form, Solskjaer will be confirming what many suspect.

That elite level management might be beyond him and he is now just keeping the seat warm for Mauricio Pochettino.

Solskjaer needs to be bold… and standing down Maguire and De Gea is the sort of bold move he must make.

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