Dean Henderson determined to replace and emulate 'phenomenal' David de Gea at Manchester United
English goalkeeper impressed on loan with Sheffield United and recently signed a five-year contract at Old Trafford
Dean Henderson said he is ready to "work my socks off" to become Manchester United's first-choice goalkeeper ahead of long-term custodian David de Gea.
Henderson, 23, has returned to Old Trafford after two impressive seasons on loan with Sheffield United. His strong form has been in contrast with De Gea's recent performances after the Spaniard produced a series of costly mistakes last season having previously been one of United's standout players.
Henderson signed a new five-year contract with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side last week and believes he is capable of unseating De Gea.
His fine form also saw him drafted into Gareth Southgate's England squad for the Nations League matches against Iceland and Denmark.
He is competing against Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope in an attempt to make his England debut.
To start for England, Henderson needs to be playing regularly in the Premier League and he warned De Gea that he has not returned to Old Trafford just to sit on the bench.
"Look, 100 per cent the aim is for me to play football next season and I don't think I want to be not playing after last season, coming off a good season with momentum," Henderson said.
"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.
"Listen, for me with Man United, David De Gea has obviously been a great goalkeeper first and foremost for many years and he's been phenomenal.
"That's something I aspire to be, to have a career like him at the club. So I'll be going back in on the first day of pre-season working my socks off to get in that starting line-up."
Despite joining United's academy at 14, Henderson, who learned his trade during loan spells at other clubs, is yet to make a first-team appearance for the club.
"I feel like a new signing at Man United. I haven't been in the building for five years," he said. "I've had a lot of time away."
Henderson is well aware he cannot establish himself at international level if he remains behind De Gea at United.
Asked about potentially becoming first choice with England, Henderson replied: "Obviously 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, overcoming my little challenges, my little goals and I'm sure one day I'll get to where I want to be."
Published: September 3, 2020 02:07 PM