‘It wouldn’t be clever for me to sit around and not play football’: Dean Henderson warns Manchester United he will LEAVE if he cannot oust David De Gea as No 1 after signing new £120,000-a-week deal
- Dean Henderson recently penned a new five-year contract at Manchester United
- He has moved back to United after shining at Sheffield United in Premier League
- Henderson is now eyeing the No 1 spot at Old Trafford ahead of David de Gea
- But the England shot-stopper has warned United he will leave if he is not No 1
Dean Henderson has warned Manchester United that he will look to leave if it’s clear he will be No 2 goalkeeper to David de Gea.
The England keeper has set his sights on De Gea’s role as United’s first choice this season after recently signing a new five-year deal worth £120,000 a week.
Henderson said: ‘Look, 100 per cent, the aim is for me to play football next season.
Dean Henderson recently put pen to paper on a new five-year contract at Manchester United
‘I don’t think I want to be not playing after last season, coming off a good season with momentum.’
Following that successful loan spell at Sheffield United last term, which culminated in a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad, Henderson’s future has been the subject of scrutiny.
But his decision to sign the new deal at Old Trafford will see him start the new season with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side and battle it out with De Gea to become the club’s No 1.
However, when asked whether he would seek another loan move if it became clear he would be No 2, Henderson responded: ‘Yes. It wouldn’t be clever for me to sit around and not play football, I don’t think it would help any parties at all.
‘You can get many things from training and obviously learn off someone like David and the other goalkeepers and coaches.
‘But I don’t think there’s any substitute for game-time. I went out from Manchester United five years ago, started at Stockport, Grimsby, Shrewsbury and then Sheffield which shows how much I’ve learned, picking up experiences that happen in games because they’re situations that you don’t really get in training.
Henderson is currently on duty with England ahead of the start of the Nations League
‘I’m not going to improve just sitting on the bench. I need that game-time. I feel like a new signing at United. I haven’t been in the building for five years. I’ve had a lot of time away.’
United’s first game of the season is on September 19 when Crystal Palace visit.
Solskjaer’s side will play three Premier League games before the transfer window shuts on October 5 — a period which is likely to prove crucial as Henderson, 23, weighs up his future.
For now, he has set his sights on overtaking De Gea.
He said: ‘David de Gea has obviously been a great goalkeeper for many years. He’s been phenomenal and that’s something I aspire to be, to have a career like his at the club, so I’ll be going back in first day of the pre-season working my socks off to get in that starting line-up because it’s something I’ve always wanted.
‘I’m so close now so I’m not going to give up, I’m going to put the pressure on. I respect David, he’s been a phenomenal servant for the football club and one of the best in recent years. It’s down to me. I know what challenges are going to be ahead. I’m well up for it.’
Henderson is desperate to claim the No 1 spot at Old Trafford ahead of David de Gea
Henderson is also targeting becoming England’s No 1. As revealed by Sportsmail on Wednesday, Jordan Pickford’s position as Southgate’s first choice is in doubt following an alarming dip in form.
Burnley’s Nick Pope is the favourite to replace Pickford, but Henderson’s emergence offers another genuine option should the coach decide to make a change.
But while Henderson agrees one of his ultimate goals is to become England No 1, he concedes that will not be possible if he is second-choice at United.
‘I 100 per cent accept that (you can’t be No 1 for England if you are No 2 at your club),’ he added. ‘I know what I’ve got to do. We’re all challenging for the No 1 shirt and it’s obviously something that I aspire to be.
‘I’m working hard every day to be Gareth’s No 1 but I know I’ve got to get past two very good keepers. I want to play for England and I want to play for Manchester United so I’m just going to keep working hard every single day.
‘I’m sure one day I’ll get to where I want to be. For me it’s just train as hard as ever and then one day it’s going to pay off.’