Dean Henderson’s impressive form this season has strengthened his case to succeed David De Gea to Manchester United.
While Henderson thrived on loan to Sheffield United, several major mistakes by De Gea saw his status as the United’s top goaltender challenged for a decade.
But, for United legend Peter Schmeichel, Henderson still has a long way to go before he can even consider the possibility of challenging De Gea for first place at United, despite the enormous potential of the 23-year-old.
Henderson may have kept 10 clean sheets this quarter, against eight from De Gea, and conceded five fewer goals in the Premier League, but is still not ready for United, according to Schmeichel.
“Would anyone seriously consider not having David De Gea in the goal and putting Dean Henderson in now?” said Schmeichel.
“There is no doubt about Henderson’s potential, but he played a season in a club that had an incredible run in the Premier League.
“They have managed to combine an old school way of thinking with a new school way of thinking, staying true to Sheffield United and what kind of club it is.
“But Henderson will have to show another season, as he has just spent, then another and another, in order to convince everyone that he is the right guy.
“There is a very big difference between being # 1 at Bramall Lane and being # 1 at Old Trafford, a very big difference. Even being a player of these two clubs.
“I saw a lot of guys coming to Old Trafford with an excellent reputation, scorers, and they couldn’t do what they promised to do, with performance and talent.
“It’s just because the pressures at Old Trafford are different, just different, you know.
“Just as an example, if Henderson makes a mistake – and I only remember the one he made against Liverpool – it’s ‘oh yeah but he’s young and talented and blah blah blah’, because he plays for Sheffield United.
“If he makes this mistake at Old Trafford, for Manchester United, then those are the headlines and it’s all week until he plays the next game, where they question his ability to be the # 1.
“The pressures, the external pressures, are so different. If you make a mistake playing for Sheffield United, well, that’s what’s going on, you don’t have to win every game.
“But you are when you play for the big clubs. So let’s see how it develops and keep an eye on it. But it is far too early.
“So the question: De Gea or Henderson? There is really only one answer to this. “
Blades boss Wilder publicly criticized Henderson after conceding a late shot by Georginio Wijnaldum, resulting in a 1-0 home loss to Liverpool last September.
Schmeichel said Wilder would ultimately have done Henderson a service by publicly berating him, suggesting that it would help the young English international become mentally harder.
“He [Wilder] is a certain type of manager, “said Schmeichel, Instagram Live chat from his home in Denmark, where he has been locked out for four weeks.
“I like him a lot, I like his way of approaching football. It’s not too scientific and, to be fair, he combined the old school with the new school.
“Some managers in the past criticized their players, and I think that is only part of it.
“In the end, for someone like Henderson publicly criticized, it’s not bad training, if he wants to be # 1 at Old Trafford.”