Sheffield United: This man can help me become the best goalkeeper in the world, says Manchester United loanee Dean Henderson

Dean Henderson, the Sheffield United goalkeeper, believes he could be elevated to the best goalkeeper in the world if he is allowed to continue working under the guidance of Blades goalkeeping coach Darren Ward.

Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 4:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 10:59 pm
Darren Ward and Dean Henderson: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

The two have worked closely together, along with the rest of Bramall Lane’s keeper’s union, since Henderson first joined United on loan from Manchester United at the beginning of the Blades’ Premier League promotion season.

Their relationship was renewed again when Henderson was allowed to return to Bramall Lane for another season-long loan, and the young stopper recently received his first call-up to the England senior squad.

Ward last week conducted a media interview in which he named Henderson as the best goalkeeper he’s ever worked with – and Henderson, speaking to The Star, returned the compliment.

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“Wardy has been outstanding,” he said.

“The best goalkeeping coach I've ever worked with. He's brought me on leaps and bounds in every aspect of the game - mentally, physically, tactically - and the sessions are brilliant.

“I look forward to coming into work every day, and long may that continue. If I could work with Wardy for the next couple of years, I really think I can elevate to one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

“In a weird way, I feel Wardy is more in charge of me at United and the gaffer is outstanding with that. He said to me at the start, 'Listen Deano; I won't be chewing your ear off every day. Darren's your coach, he knows what he's talking about and I don't have a clue about goalkeeping. I'll speak to you before games or whatever, but he'll look after you because he's the specialist'.

“The gaffer has real good trust for his coaches. So the 'keepers go off and do our little thing in the corner. He's always keeping a watchful eye over us and making sure we're doing well though, not letting our standards slip. His standards are so, so high.

“But it's been a pleasure working with him. Sometimes I feel like I can get away with murder, but he doesn't let me. He's the only guy, apart from my dad, who gets on at me and doesn't let me get away with anything, but does it at the right times. He also wants to have a laugh and I've got massive respect for him.”

Henderson revealed that, in his first in-person conversation with Wilder, he told the United manager that he felt the Blades could win promotion to the Premier League. “Towards the end of the season he pulled me to one side and asked if I remembered that chat,” Henderson remembers.

“I told him 'yeah, it's mad isn't it?' Then I said 'I told you!' I think he thinks I'm psychic.

Darren Ward talks to Dean Henderson in training: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“But he's been great for my learning; he's put me in my place when I needed it, and put an arm around me when I've needed that as well.

“I'm a passionate lad and I wear my heart on my sleeve for any football club that gives me an opportunity. I just love playing football and I'm just like a young kid really, enjoying my life. I back myself, I'm not scared of anything and I wouldn't want to go into a game with anyone else's ability than my own. I've got to go out there and enjoy it, at the end of the day, because it doesn't last forever.”