Manchester United have been warned that the pressure of playing for them could be too much too soon for Dean Henderson next season if he is lined up to replace David De Gea. That is the view of former England and Chelsea goalkeeper Rob Green, who noted that Ben Foster struggled because of such pressure.
Henderson has enjoyed two excellent seasons for Sheffield United and put himself in a strong position to be the next first choice United goalkeeper.
While Henderson has grown in stature, De Gea has slipped from his perch as one of the best keepers in the world, making a series of uncharacteristic errors.
Henderson has made clear in the past that he wants to be United’s No 1 and faces a decision this summer over where he will play next season.
But Green feels Henderson would be better served staying at Bramall Lane for one more year before eventually returning to United, as he explained that now-Watford shot-stopper Foster could not make the step up because of the huge difference in expectation at Old Trafford.
“The size and magnitude of the club, the way David De Gea struggled when he first came in, it is just something that takes a whole lot of getting used to,” Green told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“Ben Foster tried to do it and couldn’t manage it. It was just the magnitude of the games.
“I’m not saying Dean Henderson isn’t the right man for the job in the future.
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“I’m saying he is still a young guy and might need another year in the Premier League, on the back of one year when everything has been going smoothly and under a manager who he trusts and knows how he operates.
“To then get thrust into a huge environment like Old Trafford is very different. I just think it is one season too soon.”
In contrast, another former Chelsea goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer, feels now is the time for De Gea to step aside for Henderson.
“I think for David de Gea he’s in a position now where I think it is time [to leave] personally,” he said.
“There’s a comparison also to when Pepe Reina was at Liverpool.
“Towards the back end of his career, there was a probably a 12 to 18 month period of time where he made a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes that he hadn’t made previously.
“For him, he needed to move on. Once he moved on he regained some of that form and became that really good goalkeeper again. David de Gea’s the same, I think it’s time for him now to move on.
“I think Dean Henderson has shown enough this season. I think he’s shown last season in the Championship that he’s good enough to play at that level and be one of the best if not the best in that division. This season he’s shown that he can handle the step up and he’s done it very, very well.”
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