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Dean Henderson stance on Manchester United future

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Dean Henderson has no intention of returning to Manchester United next season just to compete for the number one goalkeeping spot with David de Gea.

The MEN understands Henderson, 22, is only interested in remaining at United next term if he is appointed their first-choice goalkeeper ahead of De Gea and Sergio Romero, as he wants to play regular first-team football. Henderson only wanted to stay with United this season if he was assured of the number one berth.

De Gea, 29, has struggled to arrest his poor form over the last year but signed a new £300,000-a-week contract until 2023 in September. Romero, 32, is contracted to United until 2021 and the club has the option of an additional year on both deals.

Henderson is believed to be open to a fourth successive campaign on loan and is midway through his second seasonal spell with Sheffield United. Blades manager Chris Wilder has ruled out a permanent move for Henderson in the summer but would be delighted to retain him for a third season running on loan.

“It won’t be on a permanent basis, definitely not,” Wilder said. “His future is at Manchester United, no doubt. If the opportunity came about that figure would be huge.

“If the opportunity comes about that we could get him back on loan next season we’d be all over that.”

The prospect of Sheffield United keeping Henderson could appeal to United, since De Gea’s extension means he is effectively unattainable in the summer – if any clubs were to be interested – and Romero has 18 months left on his contract. Integrating Henderson into the first-team fold in 2021 – when he would be 24 – could be more manageable.

The MEN revealed in the summer United’s preference was to secure Henderson on an improved deal before allowing him to spend the 2019-20 season with Sheffield United so he could experience regular Premier League football. Henderson signed a new contract with United until 2022 in July and the club has the option to extend it by a year.

Although the United academy graduate has never played for the club or attained a senior England cap, Henderson’s value is rocketing and he is pushing to displace Jordan Pickford in Gareth Southgate’s XI for the European Championship.

Southgate promoted Henderson to the senior squad earlier this season and Henderson has kept the joint-most clean sheets in the Premier League so far this term. Only Liverpool have conceded fewer goals than Sheffield United.

Henderson held talks with Southgate last season and his elevation to the senior England squad was only delayed in order to allow him to focus on the Under-21 European Championship in the summer. Southgate is understood to have reservations about incumbent number one Pickford’s focus and Henderson is in an auspicious position to oust the erratic Everton ‘keeper.

Henderson has gradually developed since he joined non-league Stockport on loan aged 18 in 2016. He spent half a season at League Two Grimsby in 2016-17 before sealing a season-long loan move to League One Shrewsbury for 2017-18. Henderson was named in the League One Team of the Year and started in the Shrews’s EFL Trophy and Play-off final defeats at Wembley.

Louis van Gaal named Henderson on the United bench for the FA Cup fifth round tie at Shrewsbury in 2016 and Jose Mourinho selected him in the matchday squad at the same stage against Blackburn in 2017.

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