Football

Dean Henderson challenging for Manchester United’s No. 1 spot

Red Devil loanee's displays at Sheffield United left a mark on Solskjaer

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has tipped English goalkeeper Dean Henderson to become first choice for club and country, after impressing during his loan spell at Sheffield United.

Academy product Henderson helped Sheffield win promotion from the Championship last season and has kept 10 clean sheets for them in this English Premier League campaign, second only to Burnley's Nick Pope (11).

His performances for Chris Wilder's side this season have been a key factor in the Blades sitting in seventh place in the table, boasting the second-best defensive record in the league, and pushing for Champions League qualification.

Victory over Aston Villa on Thursday morning (Singapore time) would also see them leapfrog fifth-placed United in the table.

Henderson's loan deal at Bramall Lane is due to run out on June 30, but Wilder has confirmed yesterday that the 23-year-old is close to extending it until the end of the season.

With David de Gea United's first-choice goalkeeper since joining from Atletico Madrid in 2011, Solskjaer said no decision had been made where Henderson would play next season.

"Dean has made some great choices over the years and has developed fantastically," the 47-year-old Solskjaer said.

"This season has proved a great experience for him, he's done himself some favours with his performances and proved he will be England's No. 1 and Man United's No. 1 at some point."

De Gea, 29, signed a new four-year deal, with the option for a further year, last September and has been a key member at the Theatre of Dreams.

In the 2017/18 EPL campaign, de Gea became the first United goalkeeper to win the Golden Gloves award in nine years.

The Spain international has also won the club's Best Player award on four occasions, more than any other player in United's history, and has made it to the PFA Team of the Year on five occasions.

However, Solskjaer is not concerned by the past or the prospect of his custodians feeling unhappy at having to fight for the No. 1 jersey.

"It's not my job to keep the players happy or in the team or out of it. Part of it is their responsibility of performing and doing well," the Norwegian said.

Manchester United, who are fifth in the league on 45 points, face eighth-placed Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday morning. - REUTERS

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