Dean Henderson made three appearances for Manchester United last season, none of which were in the Premier League, and in his final appearance he was subbed off with almost half an hour left to play to afford Tom Heaton his debut.
Henderson has joined newly promoted Nottingham Forest on loan and is hoping to get his career back on track ahead of the World Cup this winter. He will need to play out of his skin to get himself back in contention with the England squad.
However, none of this was part of Henderson’s plan, who has claimed in an interview with TalkSport that he was led to believe he would be United’s no.1 last season.
The conversation I had, coming out of the Euro 2020 squad, was that you’re coming back (to United) to be the number one goalkeeper. I got COVID-19 – unfortunately no one followed through with anything they told me. I turned so many good loans down last summer for that reason, and they wouldn’t let me go. It was frustrating. To sit there and waste 12 months is criminal really, at my age. I was fuming.
I tried to (get a loan to Forest) all before (Ten Hag joined replaced Rangnick) – I told the hierarchy I need to play football. I don’t want to be here playing second fiddle. I was almost gone before the manager came in and I haven’t spoke to him since. So, no [I didn’t speak to Erik ten Hag before going on loan]. I didn’t really want the manager to come in and be able to see me in training because I knew he’d probably want to keep me.
After keeping his first team place for the majority of Premier League games following the birth of David de Gea’s daughter in the first week of March 2021, playing in 10 of the final 12 games, Henderson picked up a hip injury over the summer. Having been picked by Gareth Southgate for the England squad, he had to return home for treatment.
With pre-season beginning, Henderson caught Covid and suffered for weeks later. He made his first appearance of the season in the League Cup against West Ham in September, which United lost 1-0, and he didn’t play again until February.
In an interview with Sky Sports he expanded on his desperation to play football again.
I can’t wait. I absolutely can’t wait to get out there. I’ve been a caged animal for the last year. I love playing and the manager was fantastic with me, and I want to play for him. He’s shown some good trust in me and I want to show the same in him.
When asked which game was he most looking forward to, who he most wanted to go toe to toe with, he answered United, although that’s not possible because of the loan terms.
It would be Man United, but I can’t play in that game unfortunately! That’s me being honest, it would be Man United. I’d love to go toe to toe with them. But unfortunately it can’t be. I’m looking forward to the derby with Leicester. There’s a bit of needle there. I think that will be a good game.
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