Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson believes he is ready to take over as the Red Devils’ first choice.
Henderson, 22, had a successful loan spell at Sheffield United last season, playing a major role in their successful charge for automatic promotion. Now, the young England keeper insists he is ready to make the step up.
Is Henderson ready for the big time? Five things to know…
- Henderson joined Man Utd at the age of 14, following a six-year stint with Carlisle United.
- He was part of England’s U20 World Cup winning squad in 2017, playing once.
- Following loan spells at Stockport, Grimsby and Shrewsbury, he joined Sheffield United last summer.
- The 22-year-old won the Championship Golden Glove with 21 clean sheets in 46 games, helping the Blades to automatic promotion.
- He is primed to be England’s No.1 goalkeeper at this summer’s Euro U21 Championship in Italy.
Despite missing out on the PFA Championship Team of the Year, Henderson was named Sheffield United’s Young Player and Community Player of the Year. Having shone in the lower leagues, Henderson believes he is now at the required level to play in the Premier League.
“Whether that is at Manchester United, Sheffield United, wherever, I’m good enough to be a Premier League goalkeeper. I deserve that chance,” he told the Daily Mail.
“Do I think I should be playing at Manchester United now? Yes, I do.
“I think I am good enough and I would help the team a lot in a positive way.”
Regardless of his apparent desire to break into the Manchester United first-team, Henderson has been full of praise for Sheffield United since his arrival at Bramall Lane and has stated that he would be more than happy to return there next season.
He added: “If not there I’m sure I could go back to Sheffield United, play a season and then I’ll prove to Manchester United what they are missing.”
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United’s goalkeeping conundrum
Henderson’s public self-belief is, perhaps, timely given the sub-par performance levels produced by the normally impeccable David de Gea over the past year. The Spaniard made four errors leading to goals last season alone (only Bernd Leno and Asmir Begovic made more among Premier League goalkeepers), compared to just six in seven seasons prior to 2018/19. Having had a very underwhelming World Cup for Spain in Russia, it appears his powers may be waining.
De Gea’s current deal is set to expire at the end of the 2019/2020 season and with an extension looking unlikely, it’s becoming apparent that United will have to set step up their search for a new ‘keeper sooner rather than later.
Of course, the step between a Championship No.1 to Manchester United’s No.1 is enormous, and there will be doubts over whether Henderson is ready to take on such a huge task. With more established goalkeepers such as Jasper Cillessen and Keylor Navas seeking pastures new this summer, the ‘safe’ option will certainly be available to United this summer should they choose to take it.
However, Henderson, on paper, ticks a lot of boxes: homegrown, young and with an unwavering desire to play at Old Trafford. United’s squad appears to be lacking in leaders and passion for the shirt, especially with the recent departure of midfield workhorse Ander Herrera. Henderson’s words will have been music to the ears of United fans, who are desperate for players who are willing to put everything on the line for their club.
In a market where world-class, available keepers are few and far between, it seems logical that United will at least give Henderson a chance in the near future. Solskjaer has already stressed his desire to make youth the cornerstone of his United, the recent signing of Daniel James from Swansea being a prime example of this. These factors, combined with the fact that he doesn’t come with a hefty price tag, means that Henderson’s senior United debut shouldn’t be too far away.