The “massive contract” signed by David de Gea at Manchester United has made the Spaniard “complacent”, says Paul Ince, with “schoolboy errors” creeping into the goalkeeper’s game because he faces no competition for his place.
The Red Devils do have Argentina international Sergio Romero on their books, but the South American is very much back-up and tends to only be rolled out for the odd domestic cup or European appearance.
De Gea has been the established No.1 for many years, with the consistency he has shown seeing him earn four Player of the Year awards and a standing among the best goalkeepers in the business.
Questions are, however, being asked of his place among the elite at present, and his position as undisputed first choice for United heading forward.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has the option of welcoming academy graduate Dean Henderson back into his squad from another productive loan spell at Sheffield United, with something needing to be done in a bid to cut out the mistakes which are plaguing a keeper tied to lucrative terms.
Former United star Ince told Paddy Power of the unfortunate situation between the sticks at Old Trafford: "Any mistake you make, as a goalkeeper, will always be magnified. We know that, but what we're seeing from De Gea at the minute are basic, schoolboy errors.
"They are errors that someone on his wage and at his level simply should not be making – and not for the first time, too.
"If you go and look at the season, there's several absolutely horrendous mistakes that just shouldn't be happening.
"In those big games, the best keepers in the world aren't making mistakes to begin with and my feeling is that De Gea doesn't have enough, or any, competition. He is totally complacent.
"Sergio Romero only plays once in a blue moon (at United), but Dean Henderson is waiting in the wings, and the manager needs to create a bit of a challenge and competition at the club.
"Right now, De Gea knows there's no challenger to him, that he will be the first name on the team sheet, and he's playing like someone who knows that, too. As a player, if you think you're going to play every game, it leads to complacency.
"For me, Dean Henderson would be the answer. He's playing well, getting game time and it's something which Solskjaer needs to look at.
"He needs to give De Gea that challenge and drive, and this lad could be the answer. Henderson's got the hunger and desire to get into that top spot at United.
"While maybe it's a case of De Gea signing the massive contract he did and he thinks his job is done - he's lost a bit of that hunger. He needs to come out now, fighting, and show us what an incredible keeper we all know he is."