Gary Neville warns Man United about Dean Henderson decision

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville says Dean Henderson could struggle under the pressure of being Manchester United's number one

Gary Neville
Gary Neville (Photo: Sky Sports)

Gary Neville has warned Manchester United that it would be a mistake to rush into making Dean Henderson the first-choice goalkeeper at Old Trafford.

The England international has earned plenty of plaudits over the past season thanks to his impressive performances for promoted side Sheffield United during his loan at Chris Wilder’s side.

Only Liverpool FC goalkeeper Alisson Becker has kept more clean sheets than Henderson’s 11 in the Premier League this season to highlight his impact on the Blades.

Sheffield United had the second-best defensive record in the Premier League until their 3-0 loss to Manchester United on Wednesday night, although Henderson wasn’t available for selection against his parent club.

David De Gea faced a fresh wave of criticism last week after the current Manchester United number one made a mistake for Tottenham Hotspur’s goal in their 1-1 draw in north London.

The Spain international has struggled to maintain his high levels of consistency over the past couple of seasons to raise questions about his long-term future at the club.

Former Manchester United defender Neville issued a warning to Manchester United about rushing into a decision to promote Henderson to their first-choice goalkeeper.

“What I don’t buy into is the idea that Dean Henderson can just go in that goalmouth area at the Stretford End and adapt to the demands of being a Man United goalkeeper. It takes a special character,” Neville told Sky Sports.

“What I think De Gea has done over a four, five-year period before this last 18 months is build up a lot of credit where he deserves a break; where he’s given an opportunity to correct his form. He’s shown he can be world-class.

“When you go through a difficult period as a goalkeeper it’s mentally tough; the scrutiny is on you constantly.

“There’s no escape at this club and that’s why I’d just be a little bit cautious over Dean Henderson. With respect to Sheffield United, it’s very different making a mistake for Manchester United.

“It’d be a huge call to bring Henderson back to Old Trafford and make him number one. You’re dismissing everything De Gea has done. I’d just urge caution.”

De Gea has been Manchester United’s number one goalkeeper since he was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson to replace Edwin van der Sar in 2011.

In spite of a difficult couple of early seasons, De Gea established himself as the best goalkeeper in the Premier League between 2012 and 2018.

Henderson moved to Manchester United from Carlisle United’s youth system in 2011 at the age of 14.

The England Under-21 international is still waiting to make his Red Devils debut following loan stints at Sheffield United, Shrewsbury Town, Grimsby Town and Stockport County.

Henderson has spent the past two seasons on loan at the Blades, establishing himself as one of the best English prospects in the top flight.

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