‘I’ve got to keep my foot on the accelerator,’ says Sheffield United’s Dean Henderson

DEAN HENDERSON says this season is one he has been working up to all his life.

The 23-year-old goalkeeper, on loan at Sheffield United, made his Premier League debut in August and has impressed so much there was a good chance he might have made his England debut in March had the coronavirus not led to the cancellation of games against Italy and Denmark.

It is Henderson’s second season on loan at Bramall Lane from Manchester United and each has felt like a step up. After playing Championship football for the first time in 2018-19, the excitement of a Premier League debut was even greater.

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“It was just something I’d been leading up to my whole life, really,” he said of the 1-1 draw at Bournemouth. “I couldn’t wait to get out there and to get a result was even more special, really.

Sheffield United's on-loan goalkeeper Dean Henderson. Picture: Alistair Langham/Sportimage

“As a newly-promoted team only one or two of us had played in the Premier League before and a lot of them were only bench appearances. We didn’t really know what to expect and to get a result there was fantastic. The way we did it, (equalising) in the 93rd minute through Billy Sharp was unbelievable.”

The Blades are Henderson’s fourth loan club and from the moment he arrived, he appreciated what a big one they were.

“I went up to see the gaffer (Chris Wilder) and I remember he said, ‘We’ll hopefully get into the play-offs this season,’” recalled Henderson. “I was, like, ‘We need to get automatic.’

“I said it tongue in cheek but it was a great season from all the boys, the memories and relationships I’ve made over the past two seasons have been phenomenal and will live with me forever.”

Sheffield United manager, Chris Wilder. Picture: SportImage.

Henderson was Championship goalkeeper of last season, and called into the England squad this term.

“That’s what you work for, isn’t it?” he said. “I remember being in the airport with my missus in Villa Moana, it was the first time in years I’ve shed a little tear.

“I’ve been there before with the (Under-)21s when it looked impossible (to become first choice). I’ve just got to keep my foot on the accelerator and keep working hard and see where it takes me.”

The Blades are waiting to hear if the Red Devils will allow their goalkeeper to stay, firstly in an extended next season, then next. It says much for their development and his that it is far from certain.

Dean Henderson has attacted the interest of England manager Gareth Southgate. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA

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