Has Dean Henderson burnt his bridges at Old Trafford?

What does the future hold for Dean Henderson? It’s a question that few will be able to answer with any certainty given that the goalkeeper has, of late, been scathing about his parent club, Manchester United. As things stand, Henderson is on loan at Nottingham Forest until the end of the season, but after his recent comments, the shot-stopper may have been the one to close the door on his own future at Old Trafford, leaving everyone unsure as to where he may end up in the next 12 months.

Of course, talk of a return to Sheffield United is never far away when it comes to Henderson after he enjoyed a successful spell at Bramall Lane between 2018 and 2020. Interestingly, the outright odds on Championship 2022/23, as far as promotion to the Premier League goes, price the Blades at evens.

In addition, the latest Championship betting tips heavily favour Paul Heckingbottom’s side to be one of three teams to achieve promotion from the second tier. In this sense, you can easily picture a scenario where Henderson makes a popular return to South Yorkshire in the event that Sheffield United go up, but how has it come to this after the goalkeeper was tipped to be United’s number one?

In Henderson’s defence, it’s worth starting off by saying that the communication from the Old Trafford management could have been better. In particular, there is a suggestion from Henderson that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have misled him when it came to promising him that he would take over from David de Gea during the 2020/2021 campaign. Instead, an injury which then combined with the Spaniard returning to form meant that Henderson found himself on the bench for the large majority of the season. It was an outcome that was never going to sit well with Henderson who does not have it in him to be the supporting act to a club’s number one. Indeed, it takes a certain type of individual to be at peace with not starting, and needless to say, Henderson does not fit that description.

This is why the 25-year-old jumped at the chance to join Forest at the beginning of the 2022/2023 season. Ultimately, this is where real cracks started to show, with Henderson agreeing to do an interview with Talksport before his debut at the City Ground. During this one-on-one, when asked which club he would like to face most whilst on loan, he replied, “It’d be Man United.”

Adding to that, Henderson said that he hadn’t spoken to Erik ten Hag since the Dutchman arrived at Old Trafford or been in any training sessions with him. Incredibly, Henderson would go on to say: “I didn’t want him to see me in training. Because I knew that he probably wanted to keep me. So, I told the hierarchy that I need to play football, I don’t want to be here and play second fiddle.”

That is, of course, fair enough, but to make an assumption that merely seeing his goalkeeping skills in the flesh would have been enough for Ten Hag to keep him at the club, does undermine the philosophy of the new boss. In reality, Ten Hag would have known everything he needed to about Henderson courtesy of the eye-watering amount of data that incoming managers have that is, in essence, designed to help them hit the ground running when it comes to assembling a squad they want. Put another way, Ten Hag would have given the green light to Henderson going on loan and didn’t need to see him in training to be convinced otherwise. 

Essentially, Henderson’s comments wouldn’t have done him any favours in his quest to becoming United’s number one whilst Ten Hag is in charge. With this in mind and when you consider how much faith United have put in Ten Hag to usher in a new era at the club, it seems that the 25-year-old may have brought the curtain down on his own Old Trafford career.

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By RedManc

RedMancunian is the number one source for Manchester United news, insight and opinion on the most successful football club in the English top flight. RedMancunian was founded at the end of the 2011/2012 football season. We hope to provide insight on football matters related to Manchester United and provides a sense of what the club was and is all about. Follow RedMancunian on Twitter - @RedMancunian