Manchester United are the strongest they have ever been in the goalkeeping department. While David de Gea is their undisputed number one, they also have the best backup stopper in the game in the form of Sergio Romero.

And then…there is Dean Henderson.

Returning from a hugely successful loan spell at Sheffield United, the 23-year-old looks set to challenge at Old Trafford next season. And not before time.

Given De Gea’s recent struggles, some United fans already thought Romero deserved a starting spot as the last campaign drew to a close. Now, the Argentine has a fight to be in the match-day squad at all.

Only time will tell what the future holds for Romero. But, fresh from a new five-year contract agreement, Henderson is ready to fight for that United shirt.

(Photo by Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images)

In comments published by the Daily Mail, the United ‘keeper was full of praise for De Gea’s achievements. Yet there was something interesting about his use of tense.

“David de Gea has obviously been a great goalkeeper for many years,” Henderson said.

“I respect David. He has been a phenomenal servant.”

 

Past meets future

The comments have a hint of history about them – ‘Has’ rather than ‘Is’. And that may be no coincidence. After all, the United prospect wants to be the club’s present and their future.

Saying De Gea has been great for United is true. And yet it has been a while since the Spaniard was regarded as the world’s best. Indeed, he may not currently be in the top five.

Henderson will know he has a fight on his hands and his return could be exactly what the more experienced ‘keeper needs to rediscover his best form.

Yet it is telling that Henderson did not use the word ‘Is’. Perhaps it is coincidence or maybe it is mind games. After all, the England international is widely known for a confidence that tinkers on the edge of arrogance.

That is no bad thing for a footballer – just ask Cristiano Ronaldo – and it will be very interesting for United fans to watch how things play out in the opening weeks of the campaign.

Have something to tell us about this article?