Dean Henderson has come to a realisation over his Manchester United future, of which the impacts could be seen in January, according to a report.
Henderson has risen through the academy ranks at Man Utd to become a member of the first team after a series of loan spells away. After two years with Sheffield United, he returned to his parent club for the start of last season.
Having built up Premier League experience in his second season at Bramall Lane, Henderson was aiming for a number one spot back at Old Trafford. In the end, he made 26 appearances across all competitions.
Henderson had to share goalkeeping responsibilities with David De Gea, long established as United’s number one. Although he pushed the Spaniard more than anyone else recently, the way De Gea has started the new season – after Henderson missed pre-season due to coronavirus – has limited his chances again.
Now 24 years old, Henderson has only played once for United this season, in the EFL Cup. De Gea, in contrast, has played 15 times.
With that in mind, Henderson is now considering his future, according to the Daily Mail.
The goalkeeper has been left out of the last three England squads and knows he needs to play regularly if he is to reverse that trend. Henderson is still eyeing the number one role for his country at the 2022 World Cup, so time is ticking for him to prove himself.
His ambition remains to overtake De Gea as United’s number one. But there is a growing acceptance that such an option may not be possible until it is too late.
Therefore, Henderson is now giving thought to leaving Man Utd. He could even seek an exit in January, although he feels his club are unlikely to let him leave mid-season.
That said, they did sign Tom Heaton in the summer, so it is not as if they do not have other backup options in goal.
Henderson suitors emerge; duo also seek exits
If Henderson is allowed to leave, one of his prime suitors will be Newcastle. After being taken over by a Saudi-backed consortium, they are targeting players to take them to the next level. Part of the process may be to find those with points to prove.
Newcastle already have Martin Dubravka, Karl Darlow and Freddie Woodman as goalkeepers. Although all are decent, there is a feeling they could upgrade and find a genuine number one.
Henderson would be a reliable option for them to pursue and they could afford his £120,000-per-week wages – if they can convince Man Utd to let him go. However, his current club may keep him in case De Gea suffers a drop in form at any point.
It may not help Henderson that he is still under contract in Manchester until 2025. His terms are due to last longer than De Gea’s, so there may be a long-term plan for him.
But time is running out if he wants to secure his place on the plane for the World Cup next year. Therefore, he will be eager to find the right solution.
Henderson is not the only player that the Mail predict will want to leave. They also name Donny van de Beek and Phil Jones as contenders to depart.
Van de Beek has been used sparingly by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer since his £35m move from Ajax last year. Like Henderson, he is losing his place for his national team (the Netherlands) and also as a 24-year-old, wants more regular gametime.
Jones, on the other hand, has not played for United since January 2020. A number of clubs – again including Newcastle – are said to be circling for the former England international.