Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson is said to ‘expect’ to be the new number one at Old Trafford next season, which would mean usurping current first choice David de Gea – who is the club’s longest serving and highest paid player.
Home-grown Henderson returned to Manchester this season following two extremely successful years on loan at Sheffield United, which resulted in him emerging as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League and playing his way into the England squad.
There was talk of a move away last summer, potentially another loan or a permanent transfer with buy-back clause, but Henderson was persuaded to stay and compete with De Gea. He signed a new contract that paid him a salary typical of a starter at Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal.
Henderson has largely been a back-up to De Gea. Most of his appearances have come in cups games, although he will now get the chance to prove himself with more of a consistent run because De Gea is back home in Spain on personal leave following the birth of his first child this week.
Henderson was named in the starting lineup for Wednesday night’s 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace, with the Manchester Evening News reporting that he was told before that game to prepare himself to start the club’s next six games up to the March international break.
That run includes three fixtures he likely would have played in anyway – against AC Milan home and away in the Europa League and against Leicester in the FA Cup – but also featuring against Manchester City and West Ham in the Premier League gives him a real chance to stake his claim.
If Henderson performs well, it would give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a serious headache by April.
The Sun claims that Henderson himself ‘feels ready’ to take over as number one. It is also said that United have no intentions of letting 23-year-old go, while it is further alleged that they are even considering trying to sell De Gea at the end of the season.
Solskjaer has already admitted that Henderson is ‘not the most patient guy’, but it would be a huge call to permanently replace De Gea at this stage. A lot could hinge on the next three weeks.
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