Danny Hall: Aaron Ramsdale is his own man for Sheffield United... comparisons with Dean Henderson from Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville are unhelpful, and a bit pointless

Aaron Ramsdale was about six minutes into his senior Sheffield United career when comparisons with his predecessor began to be made, by Blades fans watching around the world on TV.

Tuesday, 22nd September 2020, 12:33 pm
Dean Henderson of Sheffield Utd and Aaron Ramsdale of Bournemouth - picture date: 9th February 2020. Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Jamie Carragher, observing Ramsdale's second Blades debut against Wolves on Sky, described Ramsdale being brought back from AFC Bournemouth as "not great business" for United while Gary Neville added that the 22-year-old should have saved Wolves' second.

Carragher repeated his view on Ramsdale before Monday night’s game at Aston Villa, which saw Ramsdale again beaten after being left exposed by his defence from a corner.

"Dean Henderson would have saved it," began the outcry on social media, before Ramsdale had even picked the ball out of the net against Wolves, and the same question reared its head while play was still going on at Villa Park.

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It's probably something we, and he in particular, will have to get used to this season, considering the impact Henderson made during his two-year spell at Bramall Lane.

But is it particularly helpful, to keep harking back to a player that is no longer United's, never was and never conceivably would be?

It's certainly not particularly fair to the young lad who inherited his No.1 shirt this summer, who probably feels enough pressure as it is as he returns back to his first club for an eight-figure fee.

That pressure is part of football, and he'll have to deal with that. But does he really need any more heaped on him?

Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale signs for Sheffield United: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Ramsdale is not Henderson. They have different personalities and skill-sets, but it's easily overlooked that Ramsdale is actually more experienced at this level in terms of games played. He was also, more importantly, available and affordable for the Blades - the truth that many conveniently overlook is that it would have made no sense for Manchester United to sell him now.

Even when press speculation suggested they might, fees in excess of £80m and wages higher than £150,000 a week were discussed. As a loan player, he would have been out of United’s price range. On a permanent deal, he is in a different stratosphere.

Still, there is no doubt that the question will be raised every time United concede this season. ‘Would Henderson have done better?’

The truth is that we will never know and in many ways, the question is about as relevant as asking if Alan Kelly, Alan Hodgkinson or Paddy Kenny "would have saved it".

Dean Henderson was unbelievable for Sheffield United but also made the odd error: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

They are no longer United's goalkeepers, as Henderson is not. They all had their moments in a United shirt too, Henderson included. As good as he was, there were undoubted mistakes and the odd iffy moment. He was not immune to those, as no goalkeeper is.

The truth is that Henderson's eventful, enjoyable and successful time as a Blade is done. Ramsdale is United's man for the present, and for - all being well – many, many years into the future. He probably has 10 years before he approaches the age that many goalkeepers consider to be their prime.

It's time to look forward, rather than back.