At the time when David de Gea was walking out onto Old Trafford alongside the returning hero Cristiano Ronaldo, Dean Henderson had just completed his first appearance of the season in a 2-1 defeat for the under-23s side against Arsenal.
Henderson was back playing after recovering from a bout of coronavirus, but he wasn’t part of the travelling squad named for tomorrow’s Champions League opener against Young Boys.
Instead, alongside De Gea and Tom Heaton, academy goalkeeper Matej Kovar is the third goalkeeper to be included in the party.
Difficult for Henderson
After withdrawing from England’s Euro 2020 squad with a hip problem, Henderson would have no doubt been targeting a return to pre-season and to start staking his claim for United’s number one spot whilst De Gea was on international duty.
Henderson’s preparation for this season has been thwarted by contracting coronavirus and the lasting side effects that he continued to suffer with long afterwards.
The 24-year-old is effectively playing catch up to De Gea and Heaton and he may continue to feature for the under-23s alongside Phil Jones to build up his fitness.
January rethink for Henderson if he doesn’t oust De Gea
At a time when Henderson was struggling with his health and fitness, De Gea’s performances have started to look solid once again.
His double save in the win at Wolves was a throwback to the performances he produced week in, week out and helped him win the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award four times in five years (2013-2018).
But he is rushing off his line as a sweeper keeper, he looks assured and he’s also starting to contribute to United’s attacking play too.
As it stands barring an injury for De Gea, Henderson’s best chance of a recall is in next week’s Carabao Cup clash against West Ham, which Heaton may expect to start in, or if all being well United secure top spot in our Champions League group with games to spare.
If he remains on the periphery into the New Year, Henderson may have to re-evaluate his position at the club and review his chances of playing first team football for the remainder of the campaign.
A loan move in the second half of the season cannot be ruled out.
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