From Stockport to England – the rise of Dean Henderson
Dean Henderson has earned his first senior international call-up with England, a far cry from his days playing in National League North with Stockport County.
The Sheffield United number one, who is on loan at Bramall Lane from Manchester United, has been drafted into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria after Aston Villa goalkeeper Tom Heaton was forced to withdraw due to an unspecified injury.
The 22-year-old, who previously won 11 caps for England’s Under-21s, has enjoyed a rapid rise to the international table despite the fact he is yet to make a senior appearance for his parent club.
Henderson originally joined the academy system at Old Trafford from boyhood club Carlisle in 2011 and, after graduating through the ranks, he signed his first professional contract with the Red Devils in 2015.
Like so many youngsters at United, Henderson was sent out on loan to gain first-team experience and his port of call was in the sixth tier with Stockport, where he played against the likes of Curzon Ashton, Corby Town and Bradford Park Avenue – a far cry from the glitz and glamour of the international game.
Henderson then continued his development with a loan spell at League Two Grimsby during the 2016-17 campaign although he was mainly used as a back-up to James McKeown, and only ended up making seven league appearances as a result.
However, a loan move to Shrewsbury the following year really kick-started the goalkeeper’s career. He featured 41 times in League One and made two appearances at Wembley although he ended on the losing side on both occasions – in the Play-off Final and EFL Trophy.
Henderson did earn a spot in the League One Team of the Year off the back of his performances at New Meadow. His next destination was in the Championship and the Blades, where he again excelled as they earned promotion to the Premier League.
The Cumbrian returned to South Yorkshire for a second loan spell during the summer and, bar a high-profile mistake against Liverpool, he has impressed once again.
Nobody can deny Henderson has earned his chance in the senior England set-up and although he is unlikely to feature during the current international break, it does represent an opportunity for him to establish his place in the squad.
— Dean Henderson (@deanhenderson) October 8, 2019
If the Sheffield United star does catch the eye of Southgate during training, perhaps a first cap is just around the corner.