Dean Henderson’s final first loan home game at Sheffield United saw the keeper invite his mother and father to the Bramall Lane pitch to celebrate by winning the Championship’s Golden Glove award.
It was his way of thanking Yvonne and Dougie for their love and support over the years, including those regular five-hour round trips to train at Manchester United from the family home in Whitehaven, Cumbria.
Henderson is firmly in contention for another Golden Glove this time around. His 13 clean sheets in the Premier League are just one behind Manchester City’s Ederson, and two behind leaders Nick Pope of Burnley, heading into the final two rounds of matches.
But there won’t be any snatched moments on the pitch this year to savor with his parents, who thanks to the pandemic will be watching on TV.
It remains to be seen whether Monday night’s clash with Everton also turns out to be Henderson’s Steel City swan song. Chris Wilder, of course, hopes not. “He has been exceptional for us all season,” said the Sheffield United manager. “Why wouldn’t we want to keep him in the building for next season?” But it is not my decision.
Henderson’s ambition to be Manchester United’s premier goalkeeper is well documented. The 23-year-old believes he is ready, although recent comments from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer indicate that David de Gea will retain his No.1 title next season. Two mistakes by the Spaniard in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final could only help Henderson’s cause.
Wilder’s hopes of bringing him back for a third loan may well hinge on whether Henderson will back each other to stay at Manchester and oust De Gea. It’s a dilemma for everyone, but especially in Sheffield where United will only be able to wait so long for clarity.