Sheffield United: Goalkeeper Dean Henderson on his promotion hopes, frustrations at Old Trafford and the possibility of remaining at Bramall Lane next season

Dean Henderson wants to play, not watch
Dean Henderson wants to play, not watch

Dean Henderson would be interested in returning to Bramall Lane next term if first team opportunities at Manchester United do not prove forthcoming.

The goalkeeper, who joined Sheffield United on a season long basis earlier this summer, made the admission after describing how he pleaded with Old Trafford's coaching staff to let him leave on loan before moving to Shrewsbury Town last year.

Speaking before his call-up by England under-21's for their Euro 2019 qualifiers against Holland and Latvia, Henderson said: "I back my ability and I know I can be Manchester United's number one one day.

“I'm trying to prove it, I've been trying to get out since I was 17 and it was like fighting a losing battle.

“I kept going in and saying I wanted to go out on loan but they wouldn't let me, they were trying to protect me.

“But I had to wait and when I finally did go out, to Grimsby at 19, I was thinking 'I should have been doing this two years ago.'

“I was ready earlier and it slowed my cycle down but 'keepers go on longer so I stayed positive."

Henderson, aged 21, has made an impressive start to his United career; making a series of crucial saves during the victories over Queens Park Rangers, Norwich City and Bolton Wanderers which sees them enter tomorrow's game against Aston Villa seventh in the Championship table.

Admitting it "frustrates the life" out of him when other young players at his parent club reject moves to the English Football League, Henderson said: "I talk to some of the youngsters at United and say 'What are you doing wasting your life? Get yourself out on loan. Prove yourself.'

“They think 'Oh no, I'm going to play for Manchester United.'

“My response is well go and prove yourself then mate because at the moment you're not.

“Start at the bottom and build yourself up.'

“There's a lot of ability in changing rooms but a lot of people happy to sit in their comfort zones. Every young lad at Manchester United has ability. So it's about mentality."

Henderson extended his contract with Jose Mourinho's side before heading to South Yorkshire following a successful stint at Montgomery Waters Meadow, where he helped Town reach the League One play-off final.

"I wouldn't have signed my Manchester United contract if they hadn't agreed to a two year loan as I wasn't having anyone stopping my development," he continued.

"Ideally I want to go back there and be number one but if that's not the case, I want to be out on loan if not permanent somewhere else.

"All the under-23's football is a myth. Most people just fancy pants around thinking they're this or that.

“They get good money and then don't know what's hit them when they come out on loan so they never bloody play.

"I've been on the (first team) bench at Manchester United a few times and travelled with the first team which was great.

“But after a while, you think 'What am I doing?' I was basically just standing around, collecting balls and watching them play.

“I wanted to be involved, not a ball boy."

Henderson's words will be music to Wilder's ears given the United manager's contempt for players who prioritise style over substance.

"The amount of ability in the team here is there to see," Henderson said.

"Villa are going to be strong in the division but it's all about us. If we perform like we did at Bolton last week then we'll be fine, we'll really push on and be dark horses.

“We had a tough start, getting beat by Swansea and Middlesbrough.

“But every team has got to gel and it takes a bit of time.

“We stick together through the good and bad times and we'll go a long way together here.

“It's probably one of the best dressing rooms I've been in."