Manchester United yet to decide Dean Henderson future
Keeper's loan at Bramall Lane ends on June 30
Last Updated: 06/05/20 9:36am
Manchester United are yet to decide if they will allow England prospect Dean Henderson to extend his loan spell at Sheffield United.
In a scenario which looked impossible at the start of the season, both Uniteds are rivals in the race for a Champions League spot and a potential £60m prize pot.
Henderson has enjoyed a magnificent season, keeping 10 clean sheets and earning a call-up to Gareth Southgate's full England squad.
With discussions continuing over a return to Premier League action next month, officials at Bramall Lane are keen to learn if Henderson's year-long loan can be extended beyond June 30 when it runs out.
Across the Pennines, Manchester United have stalled on a decision to date, until a revised calendar of fixtures is agreed.
With so much at stake, pressure may mount on executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to stop such a pivotal member of the Blades squad from staying longer than has been agreed.
According to The Sun, Premier League shareholders discussed the potential of extending loans beyond June at their meeting last Friday, insisting a player and both clubs involved would have to be in agreement before any loan could be extended.
If games recommence in mid-June, the 23-year old could potentially play around half of the Blades' league games before his loan ended. One game, however, he will definitely miss is the Blades' trip to Old Trafford - for which he is ineligible.
Chris Wilder's men are one of four teams with 10 league games left to play - their fixture against Aston Villa was postponed due to their appearance in the Carabao Cup final.
The Blades could also have to factor in the potential of a continued cup run, starting with a home quarter-final tie against Arsenal.
Sheffield United midfielder John Fleck has backed team-mate Henderson for the very top, insisting the on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper has what it takes to fulfil his dream of becoming No. 1 for club and country.
"He's been amazing and he's still a young boy," Fleck said, in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports' Kris Boyd.
"He's kept clean sheets, made some massive saves for us, kept us in games at times. I'm sure he's going to have a massive career ahead of him.
"He'll quite openly tell you he wants to be Manchester United's No. 1 and England's No. 1 as quick as possible. I don't think, personally, he's too far away from that now.
"Goalkeepers are a bit crazy - he's a bit mad at times! But he's got that big personality.
"When he's maybe made a mistake and the manager has criticised him, he's bounced back straight away. That's just the personality he's got and I'm sure that's what will get him to the top."
Blades boss Chris Wilder raised some eyebrows when he publicly criticised Henderson following a rare gaffe that cost his side against Liverpool early in the season but Wilder has since defended his approach, highlighting Henderson's mental toughness as one of several credentials he believes can make him the best in the country.
Speaking to Sky Sports on The Football Show, Wilder said: "Dean Henderson wants to be an international goalkeeper, win 50-odd caps, play for Manchester United. He's going to have to put up with disappointment. That's how it is. But I talked to Dean afterwards. The players know I'm their biggest supporter and backer."
Asked whether he had the potential to be England's top choice, Wilder added: "Yes, 100 per cent. He's pushing now and he's a young boy.
"He's a charismatic young guy but the biggest thing is that he's got the mental strength and a brilliant attitude and ability. I'm sure he'll gain that shirt he's desperate to get."