Solskjaer has conceded the goalkeeping dynamic between Henderson and David de Gea is unsustainable for a second season and the Manchester Evening News understands Henderson is currently in line to start the season opener against Leeds United.
Henderson, 24, withdrew from the England squad on Tuesday because of a hip injury and has been given a month off by United, but is expected to be available for a full pre-season. De Gea’s return could be delayed due to his participation in the European Championship with Spain.
De Gea, 30, started 36 times for United in 2020-21 and Henderson played in 26 games in his first full season with his parent club.
Henderson had an eight-game run as United’s Premier League number one in March and April but De Gea started the Europa League final after lining up in both of the quarter-final and semi-final legs.
De Gea’s club campaign could hardly have ended any worse when he conceded all 11 penalties taken by the Villarreal players in the final before he failed to convert in United’s 11-10 shootout defeat.
Henderson’s form at the end of the season was also blemished by mistakes and he was widely criticised for his performance in the 4-2 defeat to Liverpool in May. De Gea and Henderson started in every other game in United’s last six fixtures.
The working relationship between De Gea and Henderson has not been an issue since Henderson returned to United last September but both are understood to be prepared to leave if they are not the first pick.
“It’s been a strange season in that respect with regards to goalkeeping,” Solskjaer said five days before the Europa League final. “At United, most of the time we’ve had a number one who has been playing most of the time.
“We brought Dean back to challenge David and he’s had a very good season. David flew home for the birth of his baby, which gave Dean a longer run in the team and he really played well and established himself as a very good goalkeeper. He’s learnt a lot from it.
“But David is David, he’s really played well as well, he’s buckled down and really taken on the challenge. I’m really pleased with the two of them, it’s difficult to have that kind of rotation, you don’t rotate that much normally, I’ll have to find a solution for next year, definitely.”
De Gea is United’s highest earner on £375,000-a-week and has two years left on his contract. Henderson inked a five-year deal with United last year and earns around £120,000-a-week.
Solskjaer’s failure to settle on an undisputed number one has contributed to De Gea and Henderson both playing second fiddle at international level. Unai Simon is Spain’s starting goalkeeper and Jordan Pickford is still the number one for England.
United are set to re-sign goalkeeper Tom Heaton on a free next month after they released Sergio Romero and Joel Pereira. Lee Grant, the third-choice ‘keeper in the last three years, is also on the brink of leaving unless he can reach an agreement on a new one-year contract.
Heaton has not played since January 1 2020 and, despite his Premier League experience with Aston Villa and Burnley, the 35-year-old would be an unlikely back-up to De Gea or Henderson.