After two fantastic seasons on loan at Sheffield United that saw Henderson called up to the England squad and heralded by many as the country’s best young keeper, he was kept at Old Trafford this term to act as David de Gea’s understudy.
It was reported before the season started that United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had promised the keeper plenty of game time and a level playing field to compete with the Spaniard for the number one spot, but so far that has not proven to be the case – Henderson has started just one Champions League match and is yet to start a single Premier League game.
And Johnstone says the situation is holding back the 23-year-old’s career.
‘I couldn’t think of anything worse than being there and not playing. You want to be playing as a ‘keeper,’ the 27-year-old told The Goalkeepers’ Union Podcast (via The Mail).
‘I was asked last week whether I missed United. I said “no”. I’m playing in the Premier League with West Brom.
‘Deano had a great loan spell at Sheffield United, I can’t see him happy sitting down; all Dean wants to do is keep playing.
‘Dean’s very young, he probably has to be patient, but how long is your career? It flies by.
‘I was probably too patient leaving at 25 – it’s a tough situation.
‘It will be difficult for him to be number one.’
Solskjaer’s persistence with the inconsistent De Gea has divided fans in recent times, with some believing he is still world class and returning to his best and others believing he is an ‘old school’ keeper who is out of place in the modern game and who is also error-prone and a poor communicator.
Some believe Henderson has proven himself at Premier League level and should be given more opportunity to establish himself as United’s number one, whereas others, such as former United captain Gary Neville, think that might be asking too much of him.
‘I think De Gea is the number one as Henderson has a lot to do in my mind,’ Neville told Viaplay Fotball (via The Daily Star) recently.
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