Ten of the best: Dean Henderson – A loan ranger who completely bought out Sheffield United
In that half-decade, many players have failed to stand out with the Blades, but there are others who have made their way into Bramall Lane lore.
As part of a special series of The Star, we’re looking at 10 – with Danny Hall profiling former lender Dean Henderson.
Dean Henderson relaxed in a chair in Chris Wilder’s office in Bramall Lane and told the Sheffield United manager he was there to help the Blades win promotion to the Premier League that season.
For anyone who has had the pleasure of Henderson’s company, such confidence will not come as a surprise. He was 21 and came from a successful season in League One, where he helped Shrewsbury Town advance to the play-off final.
But he knew he was ready for the championship. And he didn’t want to stay there long.
“When we spoke, the Gaffer told me he wanted a goalie who could come in and win games, earn points,” Henderson told The Star.
“When he said that, I thought, ‘It’s over for me. He’ll love me that guy.’
“I came to Bramall Lane and I sat in his office, and I mentioned the promotion at that point. I said I just wanted to be promoted. And when we did, he m ‘took aside and asked if I remembered that conversation we had.
“I said, ‘Yeah, I told you’. I think he thinks I’m psychic!”
Despite such unwavering self-confidence, it was a big step for Henderson. A Manchester United player since leaving Carlisle as a young boy, Henderson was never content to sit down at Carrington and simply call himself a Red Devils player, pushing him out on loan instead and to prove its worth.
Short stays in Stockport County and the town of Grimsby gave him a taste of ‘real’ football, before a season at Shrewsbury – under Wilder’s pal Paul Hurst – saw it. get the attention of the United boss and his team.
Two losses in United’s first two games were an ominous start, but the Blades jumped in and took the win at QPR before Henderson really came in with a stunning home save against Norwich City.
Jack O’Connell’s clearance ricocheted off Tom Trybull and landed invitingly for Moritz Leitner, who was clearly offside in United’s half of the field. The offside flag never arrived and as the decibel level rose inside Bramall Lane, Leitner, Onel Hernández and Teemu Pukki rushed towards Henderson’s goal.
The guard was standing. Leitner, he noticed, looked nervous and didn’t seem to spot his teammates beside him. “If he was successful, I was snooked,” Henderson later admitted. But Leitner didn’t and chose to kill himself. Henderson saved the shot with his body, Bramall Lane broke and the young keeper loved every minute of it.
“The noise struck me as loud as a goal,” he said.
“It was special because the sound was deafening. For me it’s like scoring a goal… that’s what a goalie dreams of. Three on one, they think it’s gone, then I do it. ‘stop.”
Henderson won the Championship’s Golden Glove award that season for keeping the sheets the cleanest, calling his parents Yvonne and Dougie from the Stoke stands on the final day to share the moment.
And after a summer of rumors and uncertainties, it has been revealed that Henderson will join United on loan for their Premier League season.
As he recovered from another big day of drinking to celebrate the promotion – “I have a hard time keeping up, I’m not like that,” he admitted at one point – he said to this newspaper that he felt the Premier League would suit him better than any other division he had known before.
And that’s what turned out. For much of the season, United have had one of the best defensive records in the division as they looked to advance to Europe and even at Henderson’s lowest moments this season, such as when he let Gini Wijnaldum’s volley slip away for the winner against Liverpool at Bramall Lane, he kept his head up and took responsibility. He did not hide.
Considering the progress he made during his two years at Bramall Lane, it was still very unlikely that United would appreciate him for a third and it turned out, as he returned to Manchester United and won. later his first full selection in England.
Henderson has fully accepted life as Blade and will never forget his short stint in South Yorkshire no matter how far he goes in the game.
It was a pleasant February evening at Villa Park, and Sheffield United were sailing.
Three goals clear against Aston Villa, they were leading the championship as it stands. And then disaster struck, conceding three goals in eight minutes to draw 3-3.
Henderson was blamed for at least one of Villa’s late goals, especially during a heated ‘debate’ in the outside dressing room which saw, say, a number of players having their say in what went wrong. not.
United and Henderson could easily have collapsed.
Instead, he went the other way, keeping seven clean sheets on the rebound to show United and Henderson were made of tougher things than many on the outside might have believed.
“I never felt so bad, for days afterwards,” Henderson recalled of the pain at Villa Park.
“Looking back, it was the turning point of our season. I’m sure any of the boys would say the same… Aston Villa got Sheffield United to the Premier League.
“It definitely equalized me. I took my foot off the accelerator at Villa and it was a good learning curve for me. Karma came for me and I was punished for it. full responsibility for this day.
“But I like to think I’m back.”
He certainly did – and then some.