*

upload_article_image

Solskjaer hopes to have goalkeeper De Gea back 'very soon'

Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea will have “the time he needs” before returning to the team following a trip to Spain for the birth of his child, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Friday.

De Gea is unavailable for Sunday's Manchester derby and missed Wednesday's 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace after he and his girlfriend traveled to Spain for the birth.

“I’ll give him the time he needs before he comes back,” Solskjaer said, acknowledging coronavirus protocols as well.

“As soon as David travels back we just have to follow the government rules,” he said. “I expect him to be available very soon.”

Dean Henderson will replace the Spaniard for second-placed United when they visit Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

“He asked to go home. In the old world, that’s a day and you come back and you're ready again,” Solskjaer said. “Now with the pandemic and the quarantines, of course, it’s a different world."

Solskjaer expressed confidence in Henderson. “Dean did well against Palace,” he said.

First-placed City has a 14-point cushion over United.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports