Football

Dean Henderson has makings of Manchester United's No. 1: Fletcher

Fletcher adds that competition will improve de Gea

Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson has all the tools to become their No. 1, but his presence will also bring out the best in David de Gea, said former Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher.

De Gea came under scrutiny last season following a number of high-profile errors, with Henderson backed to take over after an impressive loan spell at Sheffield United.

Henderson, 23, impressed on his United debut, making a key save in their 3-0 win at Luton Town in the League Cup third round yesterday morning (Singapore time) to strengthen his bid to replace the 29-year-old Spaniard as first choice in goal.

"He's gone away to Sheffield United and did fantastic in the Championship and the English Premier League last year," Fletcher told Sky Sports.

"De Gea has a real challenge on his hands now, Henderson's a genuine contender.

"Henderson wants to be United's No. 1 - he's got the confidence, he's got the arrogance, he believes in himself. He backs himself and it's going to bring out the best out of de Gea."

Henderson was one of 10 changes to the United team that suffered a disappointing 3-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace last Saturday in their opening game of the new EPL season.

He clawed the ball away to deny Tom Lockyer as United went into the final 10 minutes with a 1-0 lead from Juan Mata's penalty on the stroke of half-time. Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood scored late goals to ensure victory over the second-tier side.

"That is probably the job our 'keepers sometimes have to do, you have to make saves when needed and David (de Gea) has done that for years and Dean did that today," said manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

"It was very important because it was 1-0," added Mata to Sky Television.

"He did a great save and somebody also cleared the ball on the line. We did OK. We have all not been training together for too long and now it is important to get the rhythm back and to get confidence. The confidence comes with results."

Henderson tweeted afterwards: "I dreamt about this my whole life!! Unbelievable feeling to make my debut for the club I love!! Clean sheet and a win to top it off!!!"

United's fourth-round opponent will be either Championship team Preston North End or EPL side Brighton & Hove Albion, whom they will also face in the league on Saturday.

"Going through is the big thing. There are some positives, the 'keeper does his job, we scored some nice goals towards the end, apart from that it was a good workout," said Solskjaer. - REUTERS

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