'How's Dean Henderson got man of the match?' Chris Wilder downplays Sheffield United goalkeeper's heroics

Chris Wilder downplayed Dean Henderson's heroics as Sheffield United move back up to sixth in the Premier League, but he did admit his side had the edge in both boxes as they came out narrow 1-0 winners over Norwich City at Bramall Lane.
Goalkeeper Dean Henderson celebrates Sheffield United's victoryGoalkeeper Dean Henderson celebrates Sheffield United's victory
Goalkeeper Dean Henderson celebrates Sheffield United's victory

And for all that the Blades manager was not getting too carried away with the way Henderson denied Mario Vrancic and Josip Drmic, he does expect the 22-year-old Englishman, on loan from Manchester United, to be part of Gareth Southgate's European Championships squad this summer.

Only goal difference is keeping the Blades out of the Champions League places, and they have a game in hand on fifth-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers.

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Technically, Billy Sharp's thumping first-half header was the difference between the Blades and a stubborn Norwich City, but the victory owed just as much to an incredible double-save by goalkeeper Henderson, who denied substitutes Vrancic and Drmic in the 79th minute.

It earned Henderson the man-of-the-match award, much to the amusement of his manager.

“That's what he's there for, to make a couple of saves,” laughed Wilder when asked about the save from Drmic, where he tipped the ball onto the crossbar despite being on the ground when the shot came in at point-blank range. “How's he got man of the match? He's only made a couple of saves?

“He hasn't had to run around for 90 minutes! He just stands in the goal, the ball comes to him and he does what he has to do!”

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Coronavirus notwithstanding, England are due to play Wembley friendlies against Italy and Denmark at the end of the month, their last games before Southgate is due to name his squad for this summer's tournament. Henderson is yet to play senior football for his country, though he has represented them through the age groups, but the momentum seems to be with him and against Everton's Jordan Pickford, who is having a difficult season.

“He has a big 10 games to play and hopefully a couple of cup games and I’ll be surprised if he’s not in the upcoming England squad,” said Wilder.

“And I am sure he’ll get an opportunity in one of those games. He’s got everything to play for and is at a club which thinks a hell of a lot about him.

“His performances for us over a season and a half have been fantastic. He’s matured and his concentration levels are fabulous and he’s enjoying life in the Premier League. And he has a huge desire to take his game to the very top.

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“He’s a confident boy, we all know that, he’s not a shy boy but he backs it up and today’s game was a good one for him, as was the one at Carrow Road earlier in the season.”

That Henderson had to make those saves – his near-post stop from Jamal Lowe looked trivial by comparison just showed how hard relegation-threatened Norwich pushed the Blades. Teemu Pukki shot against the post in the first half.

“Full credit to Norwich,” said Wilder. “They are game and honest and I have a lot of respect for Daniel (Farke, Norwich's coach).

“When questions were asked of us in our box we answered them and one bit of quality decided the game.

“We keep rolling on to the next huge game.”

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For the second Premier League game running, left wing-back Enda Stevens was substituted with a calf problem. Wilder played that down too.

“His calf is tight, so it was precautionary,” he explained.

“He’s been out on the grass on Monday and Tuesday but the Desso pitch here at Bramall Lane is quite hard.

“He felt a bit of tightness in that area.

“It’s not a pull, he won’t be out for two or three weeks, we just said to him if it’s tight to let us know. We’ll assess it in 48 hours.”

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