“I think he is ready.”
Jose Mourinho has backed Dean Henderson to enjoy a fantastic career and recalled a conversation with the goalkeeper when he first met him at Manchester United.
Much has been made about the first-choice ‘keeper for Gareth Southgate’s England side ahead of Euro 2020 and Henderson is most certainly in the running, having rivalled David de Gea at United throughout last season.
Henderson was just 19 years old when Mourinho took over at United but the Portuguese coach remembers how confident the English shot-stopper was.
“I think they are good goalkeepers,” Mourinho said of England’s options during an interview with The Times. “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.
Mourinho on Man United ‘keeper Dean Henderson
“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 went on loan to Stockport County, Grimsby Town, Shrewsbury Town and Sheffield United before returning to Old Trafford with a determination to compete for Red Devils’ No. 1 shirt.
Henderson made 26 appearances for United in all competitions last season, although he has not quite secured the role of first-choice ‘keeper under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Solskjaer opted to start De Gea for last week’s Europa League final however the United manager did admit that he considered substituting Henderson for the penalty shootout against Villarreal.
It remains to be seen whether United will persist with alternating Henderson and De Gea next season or if a clear No. 1 will emerge in Solskjaer’s mind over the summer.