If Manchester United do not allow Dean Henderson return, Sheffield United have Plan B

Chris Wilder (right) is keen to bring Dean Henderson back to Bramall Lane for a third seasonChris Wilder (right) is keen to bring Dean Henderson back to Bramall Lane for a third season
Chris Wilder (right) is keen to bring Dean Henderson back to Bramall Lane for a third season
Chris Wilder says Sheffield United have plans in place if they have to do without Dean Henderson, but they would love to bring his “edge” back to Bramall Lane for a third season-long loan.
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The 22-year-old goalkeeper is on loan from Manchester United but with some questioning David De Gea's future, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has indicated he wants Henderson to be part of his squad next season.

Manager Wilder is always planning in case any of his players leave or suffer long-term injuries, but given the important role Henderson has played in the Blades' success of the last two seasons, he hopes they are not needed in this case.

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“Yeah, we’ve got plans, we’ve talked about it,” he said. “Ultimately he’s Manchester United’s player, which we fully accept and respect them loaning him to us for the last two years.

“I feel we’ve played a massive part in his development, exposing him to Championship football and giving him the opportunity to learn while he’s been here.

“You have to act on every player. I might get a call on any of our players, so there always have to be back-ups, whether it’s Dean or any player under contract at this football club.

“You always have to think on our feet and have back-ups and plans, regarding Dean or any player.”

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The Turkish media recently reported Sheffield United had an £11m bid for Trabzonspor's Ugurcan Cakir rejected in January, but given Wilder's belief in Henderson it seems unlikely he would spend that amount on a player when he has not given up hope of bringing Henderson back for a third loan.

The Cumbrian has never been shy to say he does not want to go back to Old Trafford to sit on the bench, so the situation might not be straight forward if the Red Devils do not sell De Gea.

“He’s contracted to Manchester United, but he has the personality to express his feelings and what he wants to do with his career,” said Wilder. “We’re under the guidance of Manchester United and quite rightly so because he’s contracted to them.

“Everyone knows about what we think about Dean and how much he’s enjoyed his two years here. If he wants to go and play his football away from Manchester United next season, then I’m sure we will be in the frame if that was the case.

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“(If he returned to Bramall Lane next season) I don’t think it would be a sell, I’m 100 per cent certain because I’m sure they have big plans for Dean, looking at his age, but from a loan point of view, hopefully (we might sign him).”

Henderson has represented England through the age groups and was called into the senior squads in October and November. He must have a good chance of making his debut if March's Wembley friendlies against Italy and Denmark go ahead. Given Jordan Pickford's unconvincing club form, a good showing could even make him a contender to start in this summer's European Championships.

Wilder likes the edge Henderson, who started his career with loans at Stockport County, Grimsby Town and Shrewsbury Town, brings to the game.

“He’s learning in the hostile business of professional football and everything that brings, whether that was in the early days of his EFL career and then onto Shrewsbury and into Championship with us and now into the Premier League,” commented Wilder.

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“He’s edgy. I think we have to have that edge about us, whether it’s myself or the players. They have to have that attitude and character.

“They’ve still got to be calm and composed when they need to be. I don’t mind that. I love what he’s about. I love that he wants to play football and he wants to drive his career forward.

“We’ll help him, (goalkeeping coach) Darren Ward does an enormous amount of work with him, but he’s the one who goes out there and produces week in, week out.

“For him to go out on loan and experience different clubs and different situations is full credit to him.”

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