Sheffield United: Goalkeeper assured he has a big role to play
Simon Moore remains an integral part of Sheffield United's plans for next season, despite their pursuit of Dean Henderson, the England under-21 goalkeeper.
Henderson is expected to return to Bramall Lane ahead of the new Premier League campaign, after playing a major role in United's promotion last term.
Although his parent club Manchester United have refused to sell the 22-year-old, they are willing to broker another loan agreement similar to the one which saw Henderson move to South Yorkshire nearly 12 months ago. But Chris Wilder's determination to re-sign the youngster, who is currently representing his country at the European U21 Championship finals, has not weakened United's resolve to retain Moore's services. Instead, they have informed the player and his representatives that Wilder still views him as a key member of a squad which returns to action at AFC Bournemouth on August 10.
With Ole Gunnar Solskjær likely to insist that Henderson sits out both November's visit to United and the return fixture at Old Trafford in March, Moore appears guaranteed to make at least two top-flight appearances as Wilder's side attempt to establish themselves among English football's elite. Previously of Cardiff City and Brentford, his experience and unselfish attitude are highly regarded by Wilder and assistant manager Alan Knill.
Moore's continued presence means United could allow Jake Eastwood to depart on a temporary basis, after coaching staff decided the Steelphalt Academy graduate requires regular first team action further his own development. If Eastwood is placed with an English Football League club, then Marcus Dewhurst will be given the opportunity to deputise for Henderson and Moore. The teenager is known to have impressed Wilder and Knill after being invited to train with United's senior players following a series of assured performances for United's under-23's.
Henderson, who could win his final cap for the Young Lions against Croatia in San Marino on Monday, must accept Solskjær's offer of a new contract before the proposed deal with United is rubber-stamped.
"Dean made it clear to us that he has a very strong interest in coming back to Bramall Lane, and Manchester United are happy to go along with that,” Wilder, speaking earlier this week, said.
"He wants his United contract sorted out first of all but, in terms of putting another temporary deal in place, I think we’re in a good place with that one."
"United are pleased with what happened when he came here, with the way his game developed and the way he progressed over the course of the year," Wilder continued. "He’s rated very highly at Old Trafford and you can understand why.
"Dean was outstanding for us last season and being able to bring him back again for another year would be brilliant."
Henderson kept over 20 clean sheets as United finished second, five points behind eventual winners Norwich City but six above third-placed Leeds, last season.