Gareth Southgate has given his backing to Dean Henderson to challenge David de Gea for the number one spot at Manchester United.
The 23-year-old has enjoyed a hugely impressive two-year spell on loan at Sheffield United, helping steer the South Yorkshire club to promotion to the Premier League before earning plenty of plaudits as the Blades earned a hugely deserved top-half finish in their first season back in the big time.
A return to Bramall Lane for a third season had been suggested, though Chris Wilder’s side have now completed the £18.5m signing of Aaron Ramsdale from Bournemouth, suggesting that Henderson is now set to stay at Old Trafford for the season to challenge David de Gea for the number one spot.
De Gea has seen his once undisputed status as Manchester United‘s number one slip in recent months, the Spain international having made a number of high profile errors this season, notably making two howlers in United’s 3-1 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea.
Henderson has been included in the latest England squad for the UEFA Nations League games against Denmark and Iceland, and Three Lions boss Southgate has backed him to ‘challenge for the shirt’ at Old Trafford, and not just think about going out on loan again in order to maintain his place in the England setup.
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“I think it’s an opportunity for him really,” said Southgate, as per the Mail. “Of course, he could take another season out and gain another year of Premier League experience but at his age as a goalkeeper you can’t just think about the international situation.
“You are building a career and here’s an opportunity to challenge for the shirt at Manchester United if they are asking him to stay in the building.
“If I was him and I had the chance to push to be the Manchester United No 1, then I’d make the same decision he has. He’s got the chance to train every day in front of the manager, to influence him and put David de Gea under pressure for his place.
“I think for his career it’s a logical decision given the number of matches United will have next season.”