Dean Henderson has spoken of his respect for David de Gea but has warned the Spaniard he’s ‘working his b*llocks off’ to become Manchester United’s number one this season.
Henderson has returned to the club this summer following a hugely productive two seasons on loan at Sheffield United, the goalkeeper playing a crucial role in the Blades’ promotion and impressive return to the Premier League.
The 23-year-old has since signed a new five-year deal at Old Trafford and rejoins Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad ahead of the new campaign, where he has outlined his ambition to oust first choice De Gea and secure a regular starting role.
“The aim is for me to play football next season and I don’t want to be not playing after last season,” Henderson said, as per the Mail. “Coming off a good season with momentum, it wouldn’t be clever for me to sit around and not play football. I don’t think that would help any parties at all.
“You can get many things from training and obviously learn off someone like David and the other goalkeepers and coaches.
— Dean Henderson (@deanhenderson) September 2, 2020
“But I don’t think there’s any substitute for game-time. I went out from Manchester United five years ago, started at Stockport, Grimsby, Shrewsbury and then Sheffield which shows how much I’ve learned, picking up experiences that happen in games because they’re situations that you don’t really get in training.
“I’m not going to improve just sitting on the bench. I need that game-time. I feel like a new signing at United. I haven’t been in the building for five years. I’ve had a lot of time away.”
Henderson spoke of his respect for current number one De Gea and admits the 29-year-old is a role model following his achievements in recent seasons, though insists he is working hard to displace his teammate and says he is ‘up’ for the challenge of competing to be the Red Devils’ undisputed first choice.
“David De Gea has been a great goalkeeper first and foremost for many years,” he added. “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 first day of the pre-season working my bollocks off to get in that starting lineup because 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 and if not one of the best in recent years. It’s down to me. I know what challenges are ahead. I’m well up for it.”