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Manchester United: Eric Steele backs Dean Henderson to challenge David de Gea as first choice goalkeeper at the club

Manchester United: Eric Steele backs Dean Henderson to challenge David de Gea as first choice goalkeeper at the club

Former Manchester United goalkeeping coach Eric Steele believes that Dean Henderson will soon be the most likely challenger to David de Gea as the club’s first choice between the sticks.

He told The Athletic [via Manchester Evening News] that the 22-year-old, who is on loan at Sheffield United from the Old Trafford club, has the confidence and ability to push the Spaniard for his place in the team after he returns from his loan spell.

Speaking to The Athletic about Henderson [via Manchester Evening News], Steele said: “He has all the physical attributes you need. Plus that cockiness and confidence about him.

“He sees himself as the biggest challenger to David De Gea at Manchester United and I love that. Even though he is not at the club right now.

“He knows he is being watched. He knows what is required. David de Gea has signed his new deal. There are some good goalkeepers at the club. Sergio Romero is talented, while Lee Grant is a very good senior goalkeeper.

“But [United’s senior goalkeeping coach] Richard Hartis will be asking, ‘Who is going to challenge De Gea?’ I am sure Dean will be thinking he can be the number one at Manchester United.”

Henderson was ever-present for Sheffield United in their promotion-winning Championship campaign last season, keeping 21 clean sheets and conceding only 41 goals in 46 games. [via TransferMarkt]

He has also been a constant in the Blades’ line-up in the top flight, with three clean sheets and only seven goals conceded from their first eight matches of the league campaign. [via TransferMarkt]

He had a moment to forget against Liverpool last month when fumbling Georginio Wijnaldum’s shot over the line for the only goal of the game, for which he was publicly criticised by his manager Chris Wilder, but he put that behind him to keep Watford scoreless in his next game, making two saves in the process.

While Henderson is just 22, Manchester United’s backup goalkeepers Romero and Grant are, at 32 and 36 respectively, at the other end of their careers.

Romero has proven a more than able deputy for De Gea at Old Trafford, keeping 28 clean sheets and shipping only 23 goals in 46 games for the club, but he has made just 18 appearances since summer 2017, with just one of those in the Premier League. [via TransferMarkt]

Grant, who came to Old Trafford in July 2018, has made only one senior appearance for United, a penalty shootout defeat to Derby in last season’s Carabao Cup.

With both Romero and Grant either in or approaching the twilight of their careers, and Henderson with most of his still to come, United will likely need to look at succession planning in the goalkeeping department over the next few months.

The 22-year-old looks set to return to Old Trafford next year with ample Premier League experience from his spell at Sheffield United, and given his impressive numbers for the Blades, he seems capable of following through on Steele’s belief that he can provide stiff competition for De Gea’s place in the team in the foreseeable future.

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Manchester United fans, do you think Henderson will push De Gea for his place in the line-up next season? Could he go on to be the club’s first choice goalkeeper over the next couple of years? Have your say by commenting below!

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