Dean Henderson says he was ‘fuming’ with Manchester United after being told he’d replace David de Gea only to play second fiddle as goalkeeper opens up on ‘toughest 12 months of my career’
Dean Henderson has expressed his frustration at the way Manchester United handled him as he opened up on the ‘toughest 12 months’ of his career.
The goalkeeper, who’s spending this season on loan at Nottingham Forest, had a frustrating 2021/22 season which saw him play second fiddle to David de Gea.
However, Henderson claims he was told he’d be Man United’s first choice keeper before a bout of long COVID curtailed his Euro 2020 with England and the start of his season at Old Trafford.
“To be honest, it has probably been the toughest 12 months of my career,” Henderson told talkSPORT.
“It has been tough, hard, and I am so happy I have gone out the other end of it.
“I am so excited to be at Nottingham Forest and ready to go.
“The conversation I had coming out of the Euros squad was ‘you’re coming back here to be the No.1.’
“I got COVID, came back, so I should have still been the No.1, but then unfortunately nobody followed through with what they had told me.
“It was frustrating because I turned down so many good loans last summer for that reason, and they would not let me go.
“To sit there and waste 12 months, it is criminal really, at my age, I was fuming.
“I worked hard off the pitch and on the training pitch to keep improving, day-in-day-out, and now I am looking forward to the season with Nottingham Forest.
“I didn’t really want the manager to come in and see me in training because I knew that he’d probably want to keep me so I tried to do it all before I left for the season.
“I told the hierarchy that I need to be playing football, I don’t want to be here and play second fiddle, it was planned out. I was almost gone before the manager [Erik ten Hag] came through the door. I have not spoken to him since.”
“You may have noticed that I haven’t been able to do an interview in two years,” Henderson added. “That’s evident, isn’t it?
“I just kept myself to myself, I’ve sort of toned down in the sense where I don’t need to be saying stuff, I just go and end up doing it.
“There’s nothing wrong with self-belief, you have to believe in yourself in this game.
“Especially in this position you’re probably playing the hardest position on the pitch, you have to believe in yourself.
“Maybe when I’m younger I said a few things in interviews that I maybe shouldn’t have and it may have been over the top but it’s all part of learning.”
Henderson also revealed the conversations he had with Forest boss Steve Cooper before completing his loan switch.
“Steve Cooper came to see me, he said one thing to me. He said: ‘Look, I don’t care what you’ve done in the game, I don’t care about this, that and the other, I want you to come and play for me and I’ll back you 110 per cent.’
“It’s something I’ve been crying out for for 365 days. It was fantastic to hear a manager have that trust in me and I can’t wait to repay him.”
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