Sergio Romero has been assured of his place in the Manchester United line-up when they take on Ajax in the UEFA Europa League final later this month.
The Reds advanced to the Stockholm final by the skin of their teeth, having survived a last-gasp attack from Celta Vigo which saw John Guidetti miss an-almost open goal from just eight yards. This miss meant the second-leg of the semi-final ended 1-1, so Marcus Rashford’s goal in Spain last week proved to be the difference in a tie which only really came to life late on.
The only downside for United was the sending off of Eric Bailly, who was dismissed for taking a swipe at Guidetti which also led to Facundo Roncaglia being given his marching orders for retaliation. So the Ivory Coast international will not be available for selection when Jose Mourinho’s side take on Ajax in the final on 24 May, but it the position of goalkeeper seemed a lot less certain.
Romero has played in 11 of United’s 14 Europa League matches this term, and has done little to suggest his place should be under threat. And although his competition comes from David de Gea – the Reds usual number one and amongst the very best shot-stoppers in world football – Mourinho has confirmed that he will stick with the Argentine when he selects his team for the final.
“No dilemma,” he said. “It is fair Sergio is going to play the final and David de Gea accepts. He accepts that because, especially, he has already played Europa League matches. And if we win the trophy, David wins the trophy because he played matches against Feyenoord and against Fenerbahce. But if everything goes normal and we have no problems, Sergio plays the final.
“They are two fantastic goalkeepers. I never saw in all my career two goalkeepers to be so friendly because it is a position when you always have a little bit of rivalry, especially if you are both the same kind of level. You are speaking about Argentina national goalkeeper and Spain national goalkeeper. They are so friends and they support each other all the time. I never saw a bad face.”
United will take on Ajax in the final after the Amsterdam club escaped a scare of their own against Lyon. Leading 4-1 from the first leg there appeared to be little danger of the Eredivisie side not making Stockholm, especially when they went 1-0 up in the return. But although the French side hit back to storm into a 3-1 lead, they couldn’t find another to take proceedings to extra time.