Dean Henderson 'wants to come back to Sheffield United' if he can't be Man United No1

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Billy Sharp, the Sheffield United captain, is convinced Dean Henderson will return to Bramall Lane next season unless he is guaranteed first team football at Old Trafford.

The goalkeeper, on loan from Manchester United, appears destined to win his first senior England cap ahead of this summer’s Euro 2020 tournament after producing another immaculate display as Chris Wilder’s side beat Norwich City.

Henderson’s 10th clean sheet of the campaign helped United maintain their challenge for European qualification, with the 22-year-old making a superb save to deny the visitors’ an equaliser following Sharp’s first-half finish.

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Speaking after the match, Wilder admitted that Henderson’s sights remain fixed on eventually replacing David de Gea as his parent club’s undisputed number one. But the United manager, who signed the youngster at the beginning of last term, believes Henderson would prefer to extend his stay in South Yorkshire rather than become the Spaniard’s understudy.

Preliminary discussions between Wilder and the 13 time Premier League champions, aimed at thrashing-out the next phase of the former under-21 international’s development programme, began soon after Christmas.

Asked if other members of United’s squad are encouraging Henderson to stay, Sharp said: “No, we don’t need to be. He wants to come back.

“He wants to play for Manchester United, obviously, he’s not going to lie. But if he can’t do that then he wants to play for Sheffield United.

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“We’re happy with that situation and I’m sure it will get sorted at the end of the season.”

Dean Henderson of Sheffield UnitedDean Henderson of Sheffield United
Dean Henderson of Sheffield United

Sharp’s third goal, his third in four outings, proved enough to settle Saturday’s contest between the two sides who won automatic promotion from the Championship 10 months ago. But while City are rooted to the bottom of the table, United are in the hunt for a place in next season’s Europa or Champions League.

“We don’t joke about it, we’re not going to hide away from it,” Sharp said. “We finished (the game) in sixth place and so we might as well give it our best shot and try and get there.”

“This club has never played in any of the European competitions,” he continued. “We just want to finish as high as we can and the lads are relishing and embracing it.

“Why shouldn’t we dream? That’s what we are here to do.”

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United will stretch their unbeaten run in all competitions to seven outings if they avoid defeat at Newcastle this weekend.

Revealing that City’s title triumph helped motivate United - they also won at Carrow Road in December - Sharp said: “We're still hurting that they pipped us to that, I'm not going to lie, but we've got two or three over on them now, two in the Premier League. We try and win every game. We don't forget that and we wanted to beat them again here.

“We had a really good first half-hour and I thought it was only a matter of time before we scored. Luckily for me I got on the end of one.

“In the second half we were up against it a little bit but we strode it out."