Dean Henderson has no intention of playing back-up keeper to David de Gea and says he is desperate to become the first-choice goalkeeper at Manchester United.
Henderson, 23, has had two brilliant seasons on loan at Sheffield United and after playing 86 games over the course of those campaigns he is in no mood to kick his heels on the Old Trafford bench.
He recently penned a new five-year contract with Man Utd and he has also been drafted into Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
He will now compete against Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope for England’s number one, while he has De Gea to dislodge to become United’s new no.1.
“Look, 100 per cent the aim is for me to play football next season and I don’t think I want to be not playing after last season, coming off a good season with momentum,” said Henderson.
“It wouldn’t be clever for me to sit around and not play football, I don’t think it would help any parties at all.
“Listen, for me with Man United, David De Gea has obviously been a great goalkeeper first and foremost for many years and he’s been phenomenal.
“That’s something I aspire to be, to have a career like him at the club – so I’ll be going back in on the first day of pre-season working my socks off to get in that starting line-up.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted. I’m so close now so I’m not going to give up – I’m going to put the pressure on. I respect David. He’s been a phenomenal servant for the football club.
“I feel like a new signing at Man United. I haven’t been in the building for five years. I’ve had a lot of time away. So I’m not too sure what the atmosphere is like.”
— Dean Henderson (@deanhenderson) September 2, 2020
England on his mind
Henderson says he is “100 per cent” clear that he cannot establish himself at international level with England if he remains behind De Gea at United.
Having joined United’s academy at 14, Henderson – who also previously spent time out on loan at Stockport, Grimsby and Shrewsbury – is yet to make a first-team appearance for United.
When asked about becoming first-choice with England, Henderson replied: “Obviously I want to play for England and I want to play for Manchester United.
“So I’m just going to keep working hard every single day, overcoming my little challenges, my little goals and I’m sure one day I’ll get to where I want to be.
“I know what I’ve got to do – I’ve got two very good goalkeepers here with me and we’re all challenging for the number one shirt and it’s obviously something that I aspire to be.
“So I’m working hard every single day to do what I can do to class as Gareth’s number one – but I know I’ve got to get past two very good goalkeepers.”
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