Dean Henderson: Could Blades keeper be England’s Euros keeper?

Dean Henderson has played in every Premier League game this season, apart from against parent club Manchester United

Seconds after Dean Henderson denied Gabriel Jesus from the penalty spot on Tuesday night, three sides of Bramall Lane burst into one chant.

“England’s number one, England’s, England’s number one.”

Manchester City may have gone on to beat Sheffield United 1-0 thanks to a second-half strike by Sergio Aguero, but Henderson – on a season-long loan from Manchester United – played a significant part in ensuring the Blades were still level heading into the final 20 minutes.

The 22-year-old, who was on Carlisle’s books before moving to Old Trafford at the age of 14, had also made impressive saves from Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Otamendi and, in the end, he was unfortunate not to finish with a clean sheet.

His overall performance, however, will have served only to boost his chances of being included in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this summer’s European Championship.

From Liverpool howler to steady as a rock

Just as impressive as Sheffield United’s unexpected form this season has been the rise of Henderson from Premier League rookie to a realistic contender for the England number one spot.

But his development has not come without a few bumps in the road.

A significant moment came in September against Liverpool. The Blades were on course for a hard-fought and unexpected draw against the Premier League leaders until Henderson let a tame Georginio Wijnaldum effort slip through his legs for the only goal of the game.

Wilder’s response that day was pretty brutal: “If he wants to play for the top teams, and if he wants to play for England, then he needs to do better, he needs to concentrate more. I am not going to put my arms around him, simply he needs to do better.”

When asked by BBC Sport on Tuesday if that moment helped Henderson grow into the player he is now, Wilder said: “To chuck one in against Liverpool live on TV and come on as he has says a lot about his character.

“Sometimes you have to go through a bit of pain, which he did on that day.

“He has been outstanding for me since I have been here. He has not been error free but he does show ability to move on and learn and also shows mental strength.”

Henderson may not have managed a clean sheet on Tuesday but he has kept the joint most in the Premier League with eight – alongside Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel and Ben Foster of Watford.

His development has not surprised Wilder. The only surprise for the Blades boss is that he is not yet being considered a genuine England number one contender.

“There is a bit of a pecking order but they must be really good goalkeepers getting in ahead of him,” he said.

And speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, he added: “If there is a better goalkeeper in the world at the moment I have not seen one. He has got a fabulous future. It was a big night for him and a big night for us as a football club.”

Henderson has played 11 times for England Under-21s but is yet to feature for the full side
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