Sheffield United: Dean Henderson backed to become England's number one as pal blasts 'disgraceful' abuse
Dean Henderson has been backed to cement a place in the England squad after being called-up for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
Although the goalkeeper failed to appear in either game, George Baldock believes his Sheffield United team mate will go on to become a permanent fixture in Gareth Southgate's plans after impressing at Premier League level this term.
"International football is the pinnacle for any professional footballer," Baldock said. "It is great for Deano and thoroughly deserved. I see how hard he works every day and I was absolutely delighted to see him called up and hopefully they will be many more for him.
"The manager has shown he trusts young players and in the last couple of squads, he has brought in new players who have never been there before and it is refreshing for the game. I am sure other countries are doing the same in trying to bring young players in and seeing what they can do differently to get results."
That could have been an oblique reference to Greece, for whom Baldock qualifies, following their disappointing Group J campaign. After watching Friday's defeat in Prague from the bench, Henderson was also an unused substitute 72 hours later when England's visit to Sofia was twice suspended because of racist abuse. Bulgarian police have since arrested a number of home supporters for targeting members of Southgate's side, who triumphed 6-0.
"It is still quite shocking," Baldock said. "I was watching it and couldn’t quite believe the level of racism that is still going on this day and age. It is an absolute disgrace, with no place in football. I thought the squad, manager and coaches conducted really well with the protocol they were talking about and showed class on pitch. But it was disgraceful scenes and shocking to see."
"There has got to be a way of stamping it out somehow," he added. "I know there are lot of campaigns trying to do stuff, but as soon as authorities get involved and show no place for it that is when it stops. They have to make a stance. The players conducted so well and it was a proud night for England. Hopefully it is stamped out and we never have to see such disgusting scenes again."