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Dean Henderson’s loan move to Nottingham Forest is edging ever closer as it looks more and more like the Englishman no longer has a future at Manchester United after the arrival of new Dutch manager Erik ten Hag.
David de Gea, despite many complaints and calls to improve from fans over the past few seasons about the current No.1 style of goalkeeping, is set to start the season as Manchester United’s No.1 goalkeeper under the new manager, and despite sustained efforts from Dean Henderson, the academy graduate has been unable to entirely dethrone the Spaniard from the Old Trafford six-yard box.
After signing a new 5-year contract in August 2020, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said of Henderson: “We are all looking forward to working with Dean and continuing to develop his talent,” and it was that season in which Dean Henderson finally got his chance at what looked destined to be his future career role as the Red Devil’s No.1 goalkeeper.
That season he played 26 matches for the club, most of these matches coming in the second half of the season, where from March onwards he started 10 of the remaining 12 Premier League fixtures.
However, controversy came in the final match of said season during the Europa League final against Villarreal, when David de Gea was picked over Henderson for the fixture.
The decision baffled many United fans, who had watched Henderson perform to a high standard throughout the second half of that season after replacing De Gea who was on poor form regardless.
United went on to lose that match 11-10 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in 120 minutes, with David de Gea having his penalty saved by Gerónimo Rulli after both keepers failed to save a single other of the 21 previously taken penalties.
That match seemed to spell the end for David de Gea’s time at the club. However, with Henderson having to pull out of England’s European Championship squad due to injury that summer and being hit by long-covid just as the new season started, David de Gea was reinstated as Manchester United’s No.1 goalkeeper.
With Solskjaer knowing his job was on the line, he put faith in his trusted squad members to help keep him in his position, and although he was ultimately sacked on 21 November 2021, the Spaniard retained his position both under Michael Carrick and again under Ralf Rangnick.
Henderson only made three appearances that entire season, and it looks more than likely that those will be his final three appearances for the club.
With Erik ten Hag set to continue the trend of retaining David de Gea as the club’s No.1 goalkeeper, Henderson is looking for a move away; and he has found one in the shape of Nottingham Forest.
The Premier League newcomers, who have just been promoted through the Championship play-offs, are keen to sign a new goalkeeper after it was reported that their current occupant of the gloves Brice Samba is looking increasingly like he will sign for French club Nantes.
According to Italian but world-widely known journalist Fabrizio Romano, both Manchester United and Nottingham Forest are “confident” that a loan deal will be agreed this week. Henderson has already agreed personal terms with Forest, and it was reported last week that Manchester United would pay a portion of the player’s wages while he was on loan at the club.
Swapping one red club for another, this loan move will see Henderson gather much more game time. No longer just a young “prospect”, even if the intention behind the loan move to a Premier League side is not to impress Erik ten Hag himself with his performances, Henderson will hope the move will prove to the rest of the footballing world his ability as a goalkeeper and secure a permanent move to an established side.
The loan move will not see the addition of an option to buy for Nottingham Forest.
With Henderson on the move, it has been reported that Manchester United are looking for a player to play a “supporting” role behind David de Gea, assumingly in addition to Tom Heaton. One of the candidates for this role is Watford’s Daniel Bachmann.
Manchester United are due to start their pre-season tour against Liverpool on 12 July. The tour will see them start in Bangkok before jetting off to Australia to play Melbourne Victory, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, before heading back to Europe to face off against Atletico Madrid in Oslo.
Erik ten Hag will have his unofficial bow at Old Trafford against Rayo Vallecano on 31 July, before the Premier League season commences the following weekend, where Manchester United will face Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford on the opening weekend of the season.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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