'I owe that club a lot' - Manchester United and England star Dean Henderson's emotional tribute to Sheffield United
Manchester United and England star Dean Henderson has paid an emotional tribute to Sheffield United for their key role in his development.
The 24-year-old shot-stopper spent two hugely successful seasons on loan at Bramall Lane from 2018 to 2020, twice winning the club’s young player of the year award.
He has since established himself as a first-team regular under Ole Gunnar Solskjær at Old Trafford. He joined Manchester United from hometown club Carlisle aged just 14 after training with the Cumbrian side’s first team as a schoolboy.
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“I went to Sheffield United on loan in the Championship, and then that was big because you go from playing in front of 6,000, 7,000, 8,000 to then playing in 30,000-seater stadiums,” Henderson, who starred on loan at League One side Shrewsbury Town prior to joining the Blades, told Manutd.com.
"But it's got to be done. You've got to back yourself. Yet again. No-one's gonna hand it to you; you have to go and do it yourself. Chris Wilder phoned me up, he was brilliant on the phone, persuaded me to go, though I didn't need much persuading. I was already there. I was ready to go, ready to play.”
Henderson, who is part of England’s Euro 2020 squad – having received his first senior call-up while playing in red and white – helped Sheffield United return to the Premier League under the club’s former boss Wilder following a 12-year absence from the top flight and played a key role as they finished ninth in their first season back.
He added: “We had an unbelievable season that year (2018-19), we had some top lads and we achieved stuff we never thought we'd achieve and we obviously got promoted to the Premier League.
"As everyone knows, I went back there for the following season in the Premier League and I owe that club a lot because they stood by me, they gave me that opportunity to show people that I was serious.”
He also revealed he signed for Carlisle United as an outfielder and played for the club’s youth team as a right-sided winger.
After volunteering to play in goal in a game against Blackpool, Henderson, who also completed loan spells at Grimsby Town, then in League Two, and non-league side Stockport County, said he never looked back.