Gary Neville has hailed Dean Henderson’s performances for Manchester United, stating his belief that the job of being the first-choice goalkeeper for the club is the job that is ‘scrutinised most in football’.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made the England international his de facto number one, opting to keep selecting the academy graduate following David de Gea’s return from paternity leave.
That has thrust Henderson further into the limelight, with De Gea putting the mantle back onto the young stopper after his display against Granada in the quarter-finals of the Europa League in midweek.
However, Henderson retained his spot for the crucial Premier League clash against Tottenham – where a 3-1 victory has all but assured United of a spot in the top-four and the Champions League football that comes with it.
Click to play
Tap to play
Neville was on co-commentary duties for Sky Sports during the match and, in the second-half, took the opportunity to single out Henderson for praise.
“I’ve been impressed with Henderson, because it’s a big ask. I think it’s the job that’s scrutinised most in football, Manchester United’s number one,” he declared.
“If you make a mistake, you get absolutely punished. I’ve always been wary that Manchester United have had some great goalkeepers that have done well, he’s a young goalkeeper, but in the first five or 10 games that he’s played – he’s been really confident and really sure. You have to have courage to play that position, full stop.”
De Gea is likely to return between the sticks for the second leg against Granada at Old Trafford on Thursday but Henderson is expected to remain first-choice in the Premier League until the end of the season.
Following Solskjaer’s decision, 30-year-old De Gea has been backed to push for a transfer away from the club this summer to bring an end to his decade-long stint in Manchester.
Henderson has kept four clean sheets in nine Premier League appearances this season, while De Gea has nine in 24 matches.