Dean Henderson’s agent has underlined his client’s belief that he is good enough to start every week in goal for Manchester United.
Henderson spent the last two seasons on loan with Sheffield United but looks set to spend the forthcoming campaign at Old Trafford.
That raises the prospect of a battle between Henderson and David de Gea, and agent David Lee told SportsMole his man believes he should be the top pick.
He said: “I don’t think they’re offering him a five-year deal without thinking that he can (be number one). Obviously you’ve got a world-class goalkeeper as number one. He’s made a few mistakes, let’s be fair, but he’s still a top, top goalkeeper, still a world-class goalkeeper,” Lee said.
“He’s got the potential to be Man United goalkeeper for sure. He’s another player who believes he should be playing for United right now, so it’s not going to faze him, he’ll just rise to that.
“There are some players that, when you think of them playing for a big club you worry about them – can they take that pressure every week? But Dean would have no problem with that, he’s a confident boy.
“Dean will be focused on getting that number one spot that’s for sure and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it.”
Make no bones about it, Henderson had a more assured season than de Gea last time around.
That said, the pressure is different at United – the scrutiny goes up a level and Henderson will also find that as he becomes more established in the England senior setup too.
Henderson and Lee may back the stopper’s ability to deal with it, but it’s another thing actually doing it.
That competition for places can only be a good thing, though, dragging the best out of both goalkeepers and giving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer amazing options.
Henderson made a glaring error against Liverpool back in September 2019, was criticised by Chris Wilder, before coming back stronger in the months that followed.
But a similar error at United can bring days of debate about a player’s quality, mentality and suitability.
If Henderson does something like that next season, he’ll have an established international goalkeeper champing at the bit to take over the gloves.
It’s a different challenge, but one Henderson clearly feels able to rise to.
He may also feel a shade disappointed that Gareth Southgate elected to keep faith in Jordan Pickford for England’s opening two Nations League clashes.
With Euro 2021 under a year away, Henderson needs opportunities to impress at international level in the coming months, or the likelihood that Southgate will stick with Pickford next summer will only grow.
The fact that Pickford kept two clean sheets – not that he had much to do – doesn’t help Henderson’s international cause either.
Meanwhile, de Gea was Spain’s Man of the Match against Germany on Thursday night, and finished their 4-0 win over Ukraine on Sunday as captain.
There are signs the Spaniard may be getting his form and confidence back, perhaps in response to the fresh challenge from Henderson.
Meanwhile, the Englishman will need to be playing every week at United to have any chance of starting for the Three Lions against Croatia on June 13 2021, and the most recent international break represents an opportunity missed.
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