The ex-Red Devils boss has talked up the Englishman’s “incredible self-confidence”, but also warns the shot-stopper is “not yet phenomenal”
Jose Mourinho thinks Dean Henderson is “ready” to replace David De Gea as Manchester United’s No 1 goalkeeper.
Henderson returned to Old Trafford last summer after a successful two-year loan spell at Sheffield United, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer having promised to give him the opportunity to stake his claim for the first choice role.
The United boss was true to his word as he handed the talented young shot-stopper 26 appearances in all competitions last term, and Mourinho believes he is now primed to take De Gea’s spot on a permanent basis.
What’s been said?
The former Red Devils head coach, who is set to take over at Roma this summer following his sacking by Tottenham, thinks Henderson has the potential to become a world-class keeper.
Mourinho told The Times: “I think they are good goalkeepers. I don’t think they are phenomenal goalkeepers or, in Dean Henderson’s case, not yet phenomenal. When I say not yet, I say he will be.
“I met him at [Manchester] United when he was a kid and I always remember him asking me to go on loan. He was saying when I come back, I come back to be the No 1.
“He told me that when he was the fourth choice. He is a kid with an incredible self-confidence and I think he is ready.”
Henderson and De Gea compared in 2020-21
Henderson only shipped 22 goals in the games he played for United in 2020-21, while also recording 12 clean sheets.
However, Solskjaer tended to stick with De Gea for the more important matches – including the Europa League final.
The Spaniard did not cover himself in glory during the Red Devils’ penalty shootout defeat to Villarreal, and he finished the campaign with just 12 shut-outs to his name from 36 games.
The bigger picture
Aged just 24, Henderson has youth on his side in his ongoing bid to become Solskjaer’s go-to man in net, and still has four years left to run on his contract.
In contrast, after another unconvincing season in Manchester, it has been suggested that the club will welcome offers for 30-year-old De Gea in the summer transfer window.
De Gea only has two years left to run on his deal, and has been linked with French champions Paris Saint-Germain and Mourinho’s Roma in recent months.