Dean Henderson should not return to Sheffield United on loan next season if Manchester United qualify for the Champions League.
That is according to Henderson’s former goalkeeping coach at Old Trafford, Eric Steele.
The 23-year-old is currently midway through his second successive campaign on loan with the Blades. That expires in June and there were concerns Man United may not sanction its extension.
That is because both clubs are competing for European qualification for next term. Only two points separate the Red Devils in fifth and the Blades in seventh. While Chris Wilder’s side also have a game in hand over their opponents.
Henderson has been key to that success, keeping 10 clean sheets and helping his team to the second best defensive record in the Premier League behind Liverpool.
Yet although Man United do not need to approve an extension to the goalkeeper’s stay, the Telegraph reports they will. It is needed because of the indefinite suspension of professional football in England due to the coronavirus pandemic.
There is hope that top flight football will return next month, but behind closed doors. With the Blades pushing for Europe – potentially at the expense of the Red Devils – they will want Henderson between the posts for them.
Why Steele thinks Henderson should not return on loan
Wilder is hopeful of landing Henderson for a third season in 2020/21 if possible. That hope has been given a boost as apparently officials at Old Trafford are willing to allow him to leave.
However, Steele doesn’t believe Henderson should depart – if his former club qualify for the Champions League. Their current position of fifth could be good enough to achieve that, with Manchester City set to serve a two-year ban from Uefa club competitions.
David de Gea is the Man United number one as things stand, but Steele thinks Henderson should be retained alongside the Spaniard.
“Knowing Dean Henderson as I do, he will expect to walk into that Old Trafford dressing room and make the No.1 jersey his own, now,” the 66-year-old told The i. “I signed him at 14 and stayed close to him – he has a great attitude.
Steele continued: “When United are back in the Champions League, you can have a 65-game season. Nobody can play every game.
“Should contracts permit, United need to say to him (Henderson); ‘you are not going out on loan, you are here to compete with David’.
“He will value the experience at Sheffield United – he is better prepared now to take that challenge on.”