Sheffield United: On-loan Manchester United '˜keeper Dean Henderson's self-belief and honesty is a breath of fresh airÂ
Outside, the back end of StormÂ Bronagh battered the lush green training pitches of Sheffield United's Steelphalt Academy complex but inside the doors of the former Forgemasters sports club, things were a little more warm and welcoming.
United's pre-match media gathering, ahead of tomorrow's clash with Preston, had been pushed back a day to Friday morning, owing to the midweek clash against Birmingham City and the discrepency in fixtures that Chris Wilder is noticeably unhappy about.
But otherwise, it was business as usual. Wilder, despite admitting he shoulders some of the blame for the midweek draw against City himself after making five changes, was on good form as he chewed the fat with the local media, but it was the man that followed him who really stole the show. Step forward Dean Henderson.
If there is one thing to take from the young goalkeeper's time at Bramall Lane so far, after joining on loan from Manchester United, it's that he ain't no shrinking violet.Â
Whether it was rapping Drake's 'Headlines' at his Blades initiation ceremony - a song including the lines 'I might be too strung out on compliments, overdosed on confidence... drinking every night because we drink to my accomplishments' - or celebrating an incredible save against Norwich City with a strut that Conor McGregor would be proud of, Henderson's self-belief has never been in doubt.
Amongst his assertions today were that yeah, the Blades are a better side than Preston; theyÂ '˜battered' Bristol City last weekend and that yes, he absolutely deserves to be England U21s' first-choice goalkeeper, thank you very much.
In a modern-era where players are media trained to within what seems like an inch of their lives and most of their individuality and character is replaced with bland platitudes about taking each game as it comes, his words stood out like beacons.
But dear God, how they were refreshing.Â
You can see some of them elsewhere on these pages at the minute, with more undoubtedly to follow, and hopefully many more in the future. The youngster has been every inch as impressive with the media so far as he has out on the field and, in my experience of him so far, is a thoroughly decent kid beneath the brash exterior.
There can sometimes be a fine line between confidence and arrogance, a desirable trait and an unwelcome characteristic. Henderson struts along it just fine, and long may it continue. No doubt someone, somewhere will inevitably take offence with his honesty before long... but based on what we've seen so far that will be their problem, rather than his.