Sheffield United: '˜Deano will have no problem facing the New York Stadium boo boys'
Despite all the bonhomie of the build-up, when Dean Henderson emerges from the tunnel before kick-off this weekend, the mood inside New York Stadium will turn.
Sheffield United supporters will cheer him to the rafters. Their counterparts from Rotherham, thanks to an episode towards the end of last season, are almost certainly planning something a little more hostile.
The England under-21 international was still on-loan at Shrewsbury Town when, before Paul Warne's side visited Montgomery Waters Meadow, they noticed he had apparently described himself as 'The Greatest' on his Twitter handle. It was an indication of Henderson's seemingly indestructible confidence and unshakeable self-belief. It was also manna from heaven for Rotherham's players and staff who, deliberately or otherwise, chose to misinterpret his comments. Indeed, before their narrow win in Shropshire, one member of the travelling party typed them up, printed them out and pinned them to the away dressing room wall.
A smile spread across Wilder's face when he was asked for his thoughts earlier today. Henderson, who moved to Bramall Lane in June, has been one of United's stand-out performers this term. So, providing he remains respectful and carries on delivering, the goalkeeper will not incur his manager's wrath.
"We said at the start of the season about characters and having different characters in the changing room," Wilder said. "I'm not going to knock that out of him. Maybe we'll smooth some of the rough edges. But we don't want to change him."
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Henderson is scheduled to spend the rest of the campaign on loan with United before returning to their namesakes from Manchester. A driving force behind his team's climb to fourth in the Championship table, Wilder has no cause for complaint with the 21-year-old so far. Indeed, when he analysed their transfer options at the end of last term, Wilder privately told United's scouts it required a "big personality" to play for the club between the posts.
Highlighting the influence of coach Darren Ward and team mate Simon Moore on Henderson, he said: "Dean is a confident boy and a positive boy. And he backs it up. He's got a great mentor in Darren, whose also really confident and upbeat, and Simon as well who is a very different character but an equally great bloke."